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A RAIL freight lobby group has called on the state governments to act after operators had concerns for the industry's future.
Rail Freight Alliance chief executive Reid Mather said the future of rail freight was a big concern.
He said larger truck configurations were being approved for road and rail operators were struggling.
"These high productivity freight vehicles are competing with rail," he said.
"Main network routes that these trucks can drive on, such as the Monash, Hume, Calder, Western and Princess freeways, all have rail lines running alongside them."
Mr Mather said the state government needed to have a clear policy in place about the future of rail freight.
"The state government is failing rail if they keep pushing for bigger and bigger trucks," he said.
"Every state government is required to do a transport plan - this government hasn't done one, even though they are required by legislation to have one.
"If they haven't got a plan, how do they know where to spend money?"
Mr Mather said encouraging more trucks on the roads also had a negative effect on Wimmera councils.
"Councils are already under pressure to cover the costs of roads," he said.
"The 2.5 per cent rate cap on local government doesn't make it easier."
Mr Mather said the future of freight in Victoria needed to be addressed.'
"We need a holistic plan and bigger and bigger trucks are not the solution," he said.
Last week, SCT Logistics managing director Geoff Smith said government authorities were continuing to approve permits for larger trucks, which, if left unchecked, would ultimately kill regional rail.
A state government spokesman said the government had a comprehensive plan for freight in Victoria - the Victorian Freight Plan: Delivering the Goods.
"With Victoria's freight volumes set to triple over the next three decades it's more important than ever that rail takes a greater share of the freight task," he said.
"That's why we're working with the rail freight industry to better use of our rail assets to shift more freight onto rail - giving our producers a more cost-effective method of getting their products to market."
The spokesman said the state government was doing more than any other government to encourage more freight onto rail.
"Through the Victorian Freight Plan, we're seeing growing freight volumes, including investing in a number of initiatives that will see the greater uptake of freight onto rail," he said.
"This includes the extension of the Mode Shift Incentive Scheme, which for over 10 years has made rail more attractive than road for regional exporters to move their containerised produce and manufactured goods to port.
"We're also boosting freight efficiency at the Port of Melbourne, where container imports grew a massive 5.9 per cent between July and December.
This article first appeared on www.mailtimes.com.au
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