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Keeping our communities connected with better roads, rail services, airports and telecommunication links provides more opportunities for people to live and work outside of the increasingly congested greater Melbourne area.
All levels of government need to work in partnership with industry and the community to prioritise infrastructure investment decisions, which address community needs now and into the future. We need to be focused on building the infrastructure our kids and grandkids will thank us for.
I recently announced a National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy, which will help to inform some of those decisions and provide an investment blueprint for the future. Getting our products to market in a cost-effective and timely manner will help us to capitalise on free trade agreements and deliver more jobs in regional areas.
Projects such as the Murray Basin Rail Project are already under way and will make a real difference in the northwest of the state. In the not-too-distant future, the Melbourne-Brisbane Inland Rail line will allow for more freight to be taken off the roads and transported by rail along the eastern seaboard more efficiently.
Connecting our communities is even more important. Last year the Federal Government was able to negotiate a $3 billion infrastructure deal in partnership with the Victorian Government to help get our state moving again. Those projects are rolling out across Victoria, creating safer roads and better transport links.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull wants the Commonwealth to be an active partner in passenger rail projects and I have been meeting with the Victorian Government about possible projects.
Travelling by rail for work, medical appointments, or leisure needs to be improved in regional Victoria with a more reliable network and greater frequency of services. I am confident the Federal Government can make a real difference for regional Victorians.
• Darren Chester is the Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport
This article first appeared on www.weeklytimesnow.com.au
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