16 December 2020

Member for Northern Victoria, Tania Maxwell MP has welcomed the Federal Government’s commitment today that it will spend another $195.2 million on the crucial Murray Basin Rail Project.

The decision follows more than a year of advocacy for the new investment from Ms Maxwell, other regional MPs and key stakeholders, particularly in the agricultural and transport sectors – and means that significant works can now resume on a reconfigured version of the currently-stalled project.

It also comes after the State Government’s announcement in October that it would provide
$48.8 million of the $244 million that was identified, in a revised business case prepared by Deloitte, as being needed to re-start this work.

It remains very disappointing that the project will still apparently not be completed to the original scope announced by the State Government in 2015.  However, today’s commitment has at least allayed the significant concerns across Northern Victoria that there would be no further progress at all.

Importantly, the Federal Government has also made it very clear, as part of today’s announcement, that a fully standardised network of the Murray Basin Freight Rail Network still needs to be delivered.  This is a commitment that Ms Maxwell said should also be immediately backed by the State Government.

Ms Maxwell has also today repeated her call for the State Government to publicly release the full version of Deloitte’s revised business case.

Quotes attributable to Tania Maxwell MP:

 “I am pleased that the Federal Government has responded positively to the considerable lobbying of many people for progress to continue on the Murray Basin Rail Project.  In doing so, it is recognising and acknowledging how crucial this project remains for Northern Victoria, especially for our agriculture and transport industries.”

“Among its many benefits, the project has the potential not only to dramatically improve freight outcomes for our grain industry and many other primary producers, but also to remove around 20,000 truck trips annually from Victorian roads.”