Nationals Member for Murray Plains; Peter Walsh, says the Andrews Labor Government’s razor gang has again sliced money off the vital Mode Shift Incentive Scheme (MSIS); which will drive more transport trucks back onto crumbling country roads.
Mr Walsh said Ports and Freight Minister Melissa Horne “snuck out” an announcement on Friday night; saying Labor had extended the program for another year with a $3.6 million investment.
But he said that’s a 10 per cent cut on last year’s miserly funding of $4 million – and adds further to the $3 million Andrews Inc has cut from the program since 2018.
“If Labor thinks $3.6 million is an investment; they are either deluded or don’t give a damn. I suspect it is both,” Mr Walsh said.
“The Mode Shift Incentive Scheme was established by the former Liberal Nationals Government in 2014; and provided $5 million a year to encourage more containerised freight onto rail,” he explained.
“Since 2018 however, Labor has cut $3.4 million of funding from the MSIS; yet Andrews Inc says it’s committed to moving more freight by rail and taking trucks off roads – but by continually cutting the MSIS it is doing the opposite.
“As more people leave Melbourne after continued lockdowns, our road network is only going to decline further, hampering the liveability of our country centres.”
Mr Walsh has already taken his concerns about lowering speed limits on country roads to the floor of Parliament.
He said any proposal to cut speed limits to 80km/h was not a viable solution to managing the decay of the regional road network.
“If it decides to push that proposal to the people it will be proof positive this government neither understands, or cares about, regional Victoria and the people living in it,” he added.
“Labor says it’s moving more freight by rail, but in the same breath announces a 10 per cent funding cut for a program that encourages producers to consider trains over trucks.
“Through its continued cuts, Labor is making rail less competitive.
“Now less money in the MSIS will make the situation worse – not better. That said, we must also recall Victorian Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan has been overseeing the
“If Labor was serious about rail freight, it wouldn’t be cutting this program and would be funding it long term, not year-on-year, to help freight operators lock in ongoing contracts.”