The Victorian Government has announced the appointment of a leading strategic consulting firm to undertake a feasibility study into the development of a freight and logistics hub in Ararat, a city in south-west Victoria.
Multi-disciplinary consultancy firm WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff has been appointed to carry out the study to identify Ararat’s role and function in the freight network and examine the opportunity for developing a transport and industry hub in the Ararat City Council local government area.
“This feasibility study is an important step forward in identifying how we may improve rail and road freight inter-connectivity and increase services that are critical to our region’s growth,” Victorian Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford said.
Ararat is located on a major road freight route from Adelaide to Melbourne at the junction of the Western and Pyrenees highways.
Ararat also has an existing rail service and direct rail access to Victoria’s major ports. The proposed hub would move produce to local, interstate and international markets more quickly and efficiently.
Not only is its location important to the movement of freight throughout the region and the state, it is situated in a prime agricultural region for grain, livestock, and wine production.
“With Victoria’s food and fibre exports increasing in value each year, the state needs the right regional infrastructure to support growth in production, processing and transportation,” Ms Pulford said.
The study will provide data and analysis about the need for a freight and logistics hub and analyse its potential benefits, including:
- Reduced costs due to improved efficiency
- A centralised point for North- South and East-West interchange
- The ability to off load onto larger or smaller vehicles
- The ability for transport firms to use Ararat as a logistics centre
- The ability to backfill loads, reducing costs
- Access for High Productivity Freight Vehicles
Ararat Rural City Council has identified the importance of freight and logistics to the region in its Municipal Strategic Statement.
The Council will manage the project, working closely with VicRoads, VicTrack and the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport, and Resources.
The Victorian Government is providing $100,000 towards the study from its $500 million Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund which supports initiatives across regional and rural Victoria that build critical infrastructure, secure jobs, invest in communities and support new and emerging technology.