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Speaking at the recent Rail Futures Conference held in Melbourne in mid-September by the Rail Freight Alliance, Darren Chester, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, commended the efforts being made to bolster Australia’s rail capability.
“If we look back at the past 50 years of rail freight here in Victoria, it has been a story of decline – at least, up until recently,” Chester said, adding that as a result of the closure of regional lines and the abolishment of freight gates, goods were increasingly being transported by road rather than rail.
“There is now record investment going into rail freight,” he added, citing government support secured for the $440 million Murray Basin Rail Project, $8.4 billion earmarked for the Inland Rail project, the $58 million Victorian Port Rail Shuttle and the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy.
“Since becoming Minister, I have been pleased to oversee a $20 billion investment in rail,” he said. “These projects will ease urban congestion, grow the regions and create thousands of new jobs.
“The freight and logistics industry identified rail’s potential to reduce transport costs by about 10 per cent…Our government has secured three Free Trade Agreements, and we are building the infrastructure to capitalise on that.”
Chester added that work is continuing on the Inquiry into National freight and Supply Chain Priorities, designed to inform the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy.
“The inquiry will set our understanding of what challenges and opportunities lie ahead, and how we can take advantage of them,” he said.
“It is these investments that are going to set up our nation for the next 100 years. I am proud to be playing a part in delivering these game-changing projects, in partnership with the community.
“These are the projects our kids and our grandkids will thank us for – in the cities and in the regions.”
This article first appeared on logisticsmagazine.com.au
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