The Victorian Government is investing $8.5 million in VicTrack rail siding infrastructure to transport grain faster from paddocks to the state’s ports.
The funding is part of the Labor Government’s Agriculture Infrastructure and Jobs Fund and the project aims to transport an additional 500,000 tonnes of grain per year by rail to ports– reducing annual road maintenance and accident costs by approximately $2.2 million.
The funding is also a significant contribution to GrainCorp’s $85 million Project Regeneration, involving the upgrade of train loading infrastructure and sidings at 16 primary grain sites in Victoria and three in southern New South Wales.
The Government is upgrading the state’s infrastructure, diversifying the grain export performance and ensuring grain and cereal crops in northern Victoria get to port more efficiently.
Victoria exported $1.36 billion in grains in 2014-15 and this new initiative will boost grain export potential in the future.
Through construction of the track sidings and greater export efficiencies this project will also create jobs for regional Victorians and help ease the burden on rural roads.
Currently, rail carries only about 50 per cent of grain to the Port of Geelong, and 20 per cent to the Port of Portland.
This $8.5 million investment will address lost time and poor train utilisation caused by slow train loading facilities at country sites, and inefficient track layouts at most sites that require excessive shunting.
Victorian Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford said, “The Andrews Labor Government is determined to get Victorian grain moving to our ports quicker, make our country roads safer and growing the export potential of our farmers.”
Victorian Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan said, “This investment will create 240 jobs and has supported significant private sector investment in our freight network.”
“The Andrews Labor Government is investing in Northern Victoria to get product to port more efficiently, supporting farmers, their families and our regional economy.”
The Government’s investment in Project Regeneration sites will see upgrades at Warracknabeal, Beulah, Ouyen, Manangatang, Yarrawonga, Donald, Yelta, Wycheproof, Quambatook, Rainbow, Dunolly, Murrayville, Boort, Piangil, Oaklands, Murtoa and Nhill.