VFF wants rail project promises kept to support Mallee and Sunraysia farmers

By Rodney Woods

The VFF is calling on both the Victorian and federal governments to deliver the vital Murray Basin Rail Project in full, as was promised back in 2015.

VFF president David Jochinke said the group was promised the standardisation of the Sea Lake and Manangatang lines.

“A commitment was made to build the Murray Basin Rail Project just under five years ago, including the standardisation of the Sea Lake and Manangatang lines,” Mr Jochinke said.

“Despite the problems with the project, our expectations have not changed.

“The MBRP will secure freight connections to port for grains and horticulture producers in the Mallee and Sunraysia.”

VFF Grains Group president Ashley Fraser said the potential of not delivering the project in full would undermine the whole project.

“Failing to convert the Sea Lake and Manangatang rail lines to standard gauge effectively isolates these lines from the rest of the Victorian and interstate network, including the Inland Rail project,” Mr Fraser said.

“It not only weakens the gains of the entire network upgrade here in Victoria, but also creates difficulties delivering essential grain into NSW and Queensland.

“We want it fully funded, we want it finished and we must have it in a single rail gauge to ensure the overall effectiveness of the network.

“If we continue to have duplication of broad and standard gauge trains, not only we will see an under-utilisation of grain storage sites along the broad gauge lines, we will see an increase in freight pushed onto our roads.”