Labor refuses to commit to Victorian freight terminal project

The ALP is disagreeing with the federal government’s wish to build a freight terminal in Beveridge

Labor refuses to commit to Victorian freight terminal project
Federal parties can't decide on a spot for Victoria's new freight terminal

In a contradiction to the current federal government’s plans for a Victorian freight terminal, the Australian Labor Party (ALP) says it is instead looking at different terminal plans for the state if it successful in the election.

Labor infrastructure spokeswoman Catherine King told The Age that the current federal government’s $1.62 billion pledge to build the Beveridge Intermodal Freight Terminal in this year’s budget is a "fake commitment".

Instead, King says the ALP will look to prioritise an intermodal freight terminal in the western suburb of Truganina.

The original plans for the proposed Beveridge terminal would’ve been built in the contested electoral seat of McEwen and would’ve become one of the largest Victorian infrastructure projects under the current federal government.

The federal government says the Beveridge terminal would be a 100-hectare freight and transport hub that local councils predicted could create up to 20,000 jobs.

But King says a Labor government would instead work with the Victorian state government to select the best option for the project and refused to commit to the Beveridge terminal idea.

"The federal government doesn’t actually care about building infrastructure, they just want to pick fights," King told The Age.

"The people of north-west Melbourne won’t be conned by a fake commitment of money that is off in the never-never from a government that has broken every promise it made in McEwen."

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The ALP says the Beveridge terminal shouldn’t be built until after 2030, instead proposing a freight terminal in Truganina as the ideal location for an intermodal hub.

In other freight projects in Victoria that have caused a divide in federal politics, opposition leader Anthony Albanese this week pledged $2.2 billion towards the state’s suburban rail loop, with the current federal government refusing to fund the loop.

Albanese has also announced $150 million in funding to a major thoroughfare to the site of the proposed Beveridge terminal at Cameron’s Lane, but King says the road needs funding regardless of whether the freight hub is built there.

The current urban infrastructure minister Paul Fletcher says that the ALP has been silent on the Beveridge freight terminal plan up until now.

"Labor hasn’t committed to the road connections needed for the terminal and they have committed no money to the terminal itself," Fletcher says.

"This is a significant economic opportunity. It’s very strange that Labor has been completely silent."

The need for a new freight terminal in Victoria is high as the existing hub doesn’t support double-stacked trains and will close after 2030.

But the specifics of the new terminal are still being debated as both parties hold different ideas and locations from Truganina to Beveridge.

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