Mildura Weekly : Friday August 21 Vol 9 No 41
NEWS 03 FRIDAY, AUGUST 21, 2015 MILDURAWEEKLY.COM.AU By BEN PISCIONERI THE Victorian Govern- ment released its long- awaited business case for the massive Murray Ba- sin Rail project this week, revealing plans for the complete scope of works, budgeted at $416mil- lion, almost twice that budgeted for so far. The Andrews Gov- ernment earlier this year announced $220mil- lion for the project, which had already been included in the previ- ous government’s bud- get, but announced that $5million would be fast-tracked for critical maintenance and safety works. Councils, freight operators and a host of lobby groups have been waiting for the comple- tion of a business case to determine the route the project will take, and the final budget. Premier Daniel An- drews revealed on Tues- day the project would standardise rail lines from Geelong to Mil- dura, Manangatang, Sea Lake and Murrayville. Under the govern- ment’s plans the existing unused standard gauge connection between Ma- ryborough and Ararat will also be re-opened. Axle loading on the freight lines meanwhile will be increased from 19 tonnes to 21, improving efficiency and removing about 20,000 truck trips from the State’s major highways. Premier Andrews said major works were expected to start in the second half of next year, and will create 270 jobs. This week’s an- nouncement was wel- comed by a host of lo- cal government, lobby, farming and rail groups. Mildura Rural City Council Mayor Glenn Milne described the gov- ernment’s plans as a “fan- tastic commitment.” “Agriculture, freight and transport are key in- dustries in our region, and this announcement will help better connect our primary producers to major ports,” Cr Milne said. He also highlighted the efforts of Councils and groups along the rail corridor. “I want to acknowl- edge the hard work of the Murray River Group of Councils and the Rail Freight Alliance who have worked together to pres- ent a unified, strong busi- ness case for this project and who succeeded in making this a priority for the former, and now the new, State Government,” Cr Milne said. “This project is not just good for Mildura Ru- ral City Council, but for all the councils and com- munities along the line, as well as the whole Vic- torian economy.” Fellow Mildura Councillor, Greg Brown, meanwhile said the gov- ernment’s plan to stan- dardise the rail line at Murrayville was a vital inclusion. “If the Murrayville line had not been in- cluded in this project, standardisation of the Mildura line would have isolated it,” Cr Brown said. Mildura Develop- ment Corporation chair Jenny Grigg said the opening of the Marybor- ough–Ararat line would provide the ability to connect the freight net- work to alternative ports in Portland and Geelong, which would open up ac- cess to deeper ports, al- lowing increased capacity ships in the future, as well as increased options for freight movements. “The announce- ment...is a great collab- orative outcome for the north west of Victoria and would not have been pos- sible without the advoca- cy that has taken place by individuals and groups over many years and Mildura Development Corporation has been pleased to have played a role in this major invest- ment,” Ms Grigg said. “This includes work- ing hand-in-hand with Mildura Rural City Coun- cil, businesses such as Wakefield Transport, other councils along the Maryborough-Mildura rail line, parliamentar- ians, community groups and others to obtain an outcome.” • Continued Page 7 $416m Murray Basin Rail project gets green light • ON TRACK: Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, LEFT, during his announcement earlier this year that his government would commit to the Murray Basin Rail project. Member for Mildura Peter Crisp, BELOW LEFT, is critical of the government’s business case, and Mildura Rural City Council Mayor Glenn Milne, RIGHT, has welcomed the State’s commitment. “I want to acknowledge the hard work of the Murray River Group of Councils and the Rail Freight Alliance who have worked together to present a unified, strong business case for this project and who succeeded in making this a pri- ority for the former, and now the new, State Gov- ernment.” – Mildura Mayor Glenn Milne MG400 RETIREMENT VILLAGE PH 1300 135 602 TO REGISTER FOR RETIREMENT LIVING SEMINAR OR OUR INFORMATION PACK Display Open Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm • 333 Eighth Street, Mildura PHONE (03) 5021 1077 www.milduragardens.com.au Join Mildura’s Premier Retirement Village for $157,500. 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Friday August 14 Vol 9 No 40
Friday August 28 Vol 9 No 42