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Victoria’s agriculture sector to benefit from Inland Rail project

By Country News

A new study has identified investment opportunities in Victoria’s agricultural, manufacturing, freight and logistic sectors arising from the operation of the Inland Rail.

The biggest winners will be food processing, transport logistics and manufacturing facilities, which MPs say will be a welcome boost to the future of Victoria's economy.

According to the Federal Department of Infrastructure's Trends – Transport and Australia's Development to 2040 and Beyond report, Australia’s freight demand has been forecast to grow by about 75 per cent by 2031 and the Inland Rail is intended to share the load and reduce reliance on roads to transport goods.

Deputy Prime Minister and Federal Transport Minister Michael McCormack said the Ernst & Young-led Victorian Regional Intelligence report had forecast 940 full-time jobs to the region in the 10th year and a boost of up to $4.6 billion to the gross regional product for the study area over the first 50 years of Inland Rail's operation.

“This nation-building infrastructure lays the foundation for regional Victoria's future success, through job creation and economic stimulus,” Mr McCormack said.

Federal Member for Nicholls Damian Drum said in these unprecedented times, the Federal Government was laying the tracks for regional Victoria's economic recovery over the coming months and years.

“Our agricultural sector will play a significant role in the future success of our local communities,” Mr Drum said.

“We will bolster Victoria's agriculture supply chains by providing the crucial links between long-haul rail, road and warehouse, as well as between farm gate and every mainland state capital and international port.”

Victorian Senator Bridget McKenzie said the study provided assurance to Victoria's producers that Inland Rail was not a "splash and dash" investment, but rather a long-term commitment by the Federal Government to the region.

“Each new independent study or report released into the benefits of Inland Rail provides more certainty to our farmers that our government is making the strategic decisions needed to support and strengthen our agriculture sector over the long-term,” Senator McKenzie said.

“We have seen time and again how important our regions are to keeping our nation running.”

The Victorian Regional Intelligence report studied the 49 local government areas that are about 50 km east and 100 km west of the Inland Rail alignment.

The report is part of a broader economic study released in March 2020, building on the existing benefits outlined in the 2015 Inland Rail business case.

Construction has begun on the Inland Rail project, which includes the upgrade of 1100 km of existing track and building of 600 km of new track.

The project is expected to be completed by 2025.

The Inland Rail Victorian Regional Intelligence report, and reports from other states, can be found at: www.inlandrail.gov.au