Mulder aims to resurrect rail in Victoria

Victorian transport minister says new freight strategy will aim to boost rail’s share of the freight task

By Ruza Zivkusic | April 7, 2011

Victorian Transport Minister Terry Mulder is promising to shift more of the state’s road freight onto rail.

Speaking at a breakfast organised by the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILTA) this week, Mulder says his government will release a freight strategy later this year which targets growth of freight on rail.

"This strategy is committed to continue the development of a growing freight on rail strategy which aims to take a comprehensive approach for the growth of freight on rail," he says.

"This strategy will focus on the major freight markets in which rail competes, or would compete; interstate, domestic, regional and metropolitan exports and we will develop tailored solutions to support rail freight in each of these markets."

The state’s freight network lacks institutional regulatory integration, which is "complicated" by multiple stakeholders with competing agendas, he says.

"We are also burdened by the actions of our forefathers who landed us with a mix of broad traps which limits the redeployment of rolling stock to where it can be best used, resulting in Victoria’s freight rolling stock being some of the oldest in the country."

"There is no private or public sector working to grow more freight values onto rail and to help overcome the myriad of issues that work against new customers and operators."

During his speech, Mulder told attendees more needed to be done to boost the volume of rail freight, which has dwindled to a share of 8 percent of the freight task between Melbourne and Perth.

He says only 25 percent of freight exported from Melbourne to Adelaide went on rail, while the figure was 20 percent to Brisbane and 7 percent to Sydney.

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