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Gippsland Freight Strategy gets green light

Alliance of eastern Victorian local governments hails certainty for the region through 15-year plan

By Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi | September 20, 2013

The Gippsland Local Government Network (GLGN) has welcomed the launch of Gippsland Freight Strategy, which is aimed at improving the freight network and boosting the
region’s economy.

Victorian Deputy Premier Peter Ryan and Roads Minister Terry Mulder met the region’s six shires and councils yesterday for the second time in six months to discuss a unified freight vision for Gippsland.

GLGN Secretariat David Hawkins says the strategy has been a long time coming but provides certainty for the region.

“There are still some unknown issues around the port of Hastings and getting freight to and from Gippsland directly to the port but it’s a 15-year plan so they’re some of the details that need to be worked out such as where the international hubs are going to be for freight,” Hawkins says.

Rail and road improvements are needed to help deliver efficient freight, he adds.

“What needs more development is the issue about the last mile upgrade for a lot of agricultural businesses so that they can get more efficient transport into their place of despatch.

“I think the most important thing is that the Government look to the local governments to assist in determining priorities, so if there is limited funds to invest we need to work out where we can get maximum bank for our buck.”

With the Gippsland region supplying 90 per cent of the state’s electricity needs, 32 per cent of milk, 25 per cent of beef and 14 per cent of fruit and vegetables, it is important to ensure the industries are supported by a competent freight network, Ryan says.

“Already underway for the long term is the expansion of the port of Hastings as Victoria’s second container terminal, which will deliver enormous benefits to the Gippsland region,” Mulder says.

Projects such as the upgrade of the Princes Highway between Traralgon and Sale, the sealing of the Omeo Highway, improvements to the Hyland and Strzelecki Highways and the construction of the Koo Wee Rup Bypass will provide significant boosts for freight movements.

“We have also recently made a significant investment through the $28 million Transport Solutions program that delivers a series of strategic projects across the freight network to benefit the Gippsland region,” Mulder adds.

“All of these measures will help improve freight movement in Gippsland and provide leverage for existing and future industries to grow.”

The six local governments are Bass Coast Shire, Baw Baw Shire, East Gippsland Shire, South Gippsland Shire, Wellington Shire and Latrobe City Council.

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