Jul 9, 2012

More grain on trains for Wimmera Mallee Region

Regional freight services received a big boost today with the opening of a new multi-million-dollar freight terminal in western Victoria.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan was today in Dooen, near Horsham, to celebrate the completion of the $17.5 million Wimmera Intermodal Freight Terminal, an important new regional asset which will deliver significant benefits to local industries.

“This much-anticipated development will provide a central location for specialist grain handling and vastly improved access to ports and processing plants,” Mr Ryan said.

“It will also overcome the constraints that have existed with the ageing terminal in the middle of Horsham and pave the way for even better infrastructure to support the movement of containerised exports and bulk grain through a bulk loading facility also to be built at the site.”

“We’re improving the productive potential of regional Victoria by strengthening regional industries, investing in regional infrastructure and services, and creating new regional job opportunities.”

The new facility was jointly funded by the Victorian Coalition Government ($9.3 million), local councils ($1 million), the private sector ($660,000) and the Federal Labor Government ($6.5 million).

Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said the modernisation of the Interstate Rail Network was central to Federal Labor’s broader efforts to lift productivity, curb harmful carbon emissions and take the pressure off the nation’s highways.

“All up, we’ve increased investment in this vital piece of national infrastructure to an unprecedented $3.4 billion over six years, which is more than double what our predecessors spent over a similar period of time,” said Mr Albanese.

“But modern, reliable infrastructure will not be enough to fully restore rail’s competitiveness.  It also needs to be better integrated with other modes of transport, namely the nation’s roads and ports.

“That’s why nationwide we’re investing $118 million in a series of strategically located intermodal facilities, including here in western Victoria, to better support our industries and exporters.

Within five to six years it’s expected the new facility will be able to process up to 18,600 containers – more than twice the capacity of the existing Horsham facility.