Farm lobby group highlights the need for a big spend on rail

Bumper grain harvest highlights strained regional freight infrastructure

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COMMENT: VFF wants the Victorian government to invest more in rail.

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COMMENT

We are on-track here in Victoria to record our second largest grain harvest in history, off the back of one of our best seasons in years.

While this is a fantastic result for growers and our regional economy, it has no doubt highlighted the shortfalls in our incredibly strained and under-funded regional road and rail freight networks.

You only have to look at the condition of some of the rail lines in country areas to see they are in urgent need of a major upgrade.

On certain sections of track in the state's west, trains have been reduced to a maximum speed of 20 kilometres per hour.

Time is money, and many operators have made the decision to transport produce on our roads.

With this year's bumper harvest, there's a potential for up to 10,000 B-double trucks of grain to be using the roads each month.

That can only create extra wear and tear on many of our already crumbling roads, and that's an accident waiting to happen sometime in the future.

That's why the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) continues to call on the government to do the planning now to ensure this year's budget invests big in regional Victorian freight infrastructure and plans for the future.

Infrastructure such as the vital Murray Basin Rail Project, which has been proposed for years, is designed to not only cater for industry needs now, but also for many years of future growth.

Farmers and regional Victoria have been incredibly patient, waiting for our fair share of important infrastructure.

It is now time for the Victorian Government to invest in our future.

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