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THE member for Farrer, Sussan Ley, is the latest to oppose the creation of a rail hub at the Logic industrial estate near Barnawartha.
Ms Ley yesterday joined the debate after her state Liberal colleague in Benambra, Bill Tilley, said at the weekend he couldn’t blindly support the hub without seeing a feasibility study into the multimillion-dollar plan, which is seeking financial support from ratepayers and taxpayers.
There is already a rail hub in Ms Ley’s electorate at Ettamogah, operated by Colin Rees.
“I have absolutely no problem with healthy commercial competition,” she said.
But she asked whether a second rail hub in the same region, essentially performing the same functions, was something that should receive substantial taxpayer money.
“My guess is there is greater public demand for improved passenger services in the North East which could take priority right now,” she said.
Wodonga Council has wanted a Barnawartha rail hub since Logic’s creation in the mid 2000s.
The former Victorian Labor government offered $4 million for a rail hub with the council providing $6 million and the federal government asked for the balance of the project then valued at $21 million.
A report on freight in the Hume region, compiled last year for the Hume Regional Development Australia committee, acknowledged hubs already existed outside its boundaries at Tocumwal, Ettamogah and Deniliquin.
A similar centre at Logic is not specifically mentioned with only “further planning in place” for the hub recognised.
But “key actions” for Regional Development Australia include backing the major intermodal terminals and promoting planning for a network of intermodal terminals in the region.
The Woolworths distribution centre is the largest tenant at Logic.
The 60,000 square metre warehouse operates 24 hours a day with up to 450 truck movements.
Speculation is building funding will be announced in the lead-up to the Victorian election for the Logic rail hub.
This article first appeared on www.bordermail.com.au
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