The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) says the Murray Basin Rail Project (MBRP) is a critical opportunity to fill the rural job void created in Victoria as of result of the COVID-19 pandemic and is calling on the Victorian Government and the Commonwealth to deliver the project originally as promised.
VFF Grains Group President Ashley Fraser said research conducted by the Grattan Institute highlighted that rural Victoria and in particular the Mallee electorate has been hit hard by job losses recently and he says building the project would not only boost rural jobs, but also help position agriculture to lead the economic recovery.
“Now, more than ever, the Murray Basin Rail Project needs to be delivered as originally promised.”
“Rural Victoria is crying out for major infrastructure projects to stimulate the economy and provide much needed local jobs. This is a nation-building project and a no-brainer to give the green light.”
“This project is also key to unlocking the agricultural potential and prosperity of North West Victoria and Sunraysia and will help Victorian agriculture and the grains industry lead the nation’s economic recovery,” Mr Fraser said.
Mr Fraser said the VFF was promised the standardisation of the Sea Lake and Manangatang lines in 2014 and is deeply concerned about the potential impact for farmers and industry in the region if the works aren’t completed.
“We supported the project as it was slated in 2014 and we support it today, but that support is for the full project as promised, including the standardisation of the Sea Lake and Manangatang lines,”
“Failure to standardise the Sea Lake and Manangatang lines would effectively isolate them from the rest of the Victorian and interstate network, including the Inland Rail, which goes against the benefits of the entire project,”
“The Murray Basin Rail Project was always about growing capacity, improving efficiency and providing better access from Victoria’s key grain and horticulture growing regions to major ports. We must not lose sight of this and now is the time is now to do the job properly,” said Mr Fraser.