27 October 2020

Tania Maxwell MP, Member for Northern Victoria, says there is a real concern the Murray Basin Rail Project will not progress without substantial Commonwealth funding.

Ms Maxwell has requested through Parliament a confirmation from the Victorian Government that it will not pursue the project any further without at least $195.2 million in new funding from the Commonwealth.

The Murray Basin Rail Project was expected to standardise many parts of the Victorian rail network, allowing for transportation of greater volumes of produce to port and a boost to jobs and the regional economy, as well as removing thousands of truck trips off the State’s roads.

The project was stalled following massive cost overruns and the Victorian Government recently released part of the revised business case, indicating that at least another $244 million of expenditure is now needed to revive the plan.  The Victorian Government is calling on the Federal Government to contribute at least $195.2 million of that amount.

Stakeholders have voiced numerous concerns and questions about the project, including about the original business case and rescoping and there are widespread fears that the project will now be stuck in a political fight over funding.

Ms Maxwell said she hoped the State and Federal Governments could negotiate a quick resolution that would allow the project to be revived – and in a form consistent with the original scope and aims.

Quotes attributable to Tania Maxwell:

“There are a raft of questions that stakeholders and producers want answered in relation to the Murray Basin Rail Project, but what is not in doubt is the paramount importance of this infrastructure to many people in Northern Victoria, including our agriculture industry.”

“With both State and Federal governments committing substantial funding to infrastructure in response to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s my firm hope that both parties can reach an agreement to get the Murray Basin Rail project back on track.”