State opposition to boost freight shift scheme

The opposition has launched its own plans to revolutionise Victoria’s freight network

State opposition to boost freight shift scheme
The Victorian opposition wants to boost containerised rail freight in the state

The Victorian opposition says it will boost incentive payments as part of a promise to shift freight from road to rail ahead of the upcoming state election this year.

Opposition ports and freight spokeswoman Roma Britnell says the coalition will commit to a $20 million investment over four years as part of the mode shift incentive scheme, which pushes the freight industry to move containerised freight from road to rail.

Britnell says the funding in the scheme has been caused by the current state government’s inability to produce a satisfactory freight network for the Victorian transport industry.

"The government’s track record on rail freight is nothing short of abysmal," Britnell says.

"They botched the Murray Basin rail project, the port rail shuttle is sitting idle and now they’ve cut $3 million of funding to the mode shift incentive scheme."

The scheme was originally devised by the old 2014 coalition government, as it sought to provide $5 million a year to four operators to encourage containerised freight moving from road to rail.

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Britnell says the current government has cut $3 million of funding to the mode shift incentive scheme since 2018, with the incentive for operators dropping from $117 per container in 2013-14 to just $94 per container in 2022.

In a response to Britnell’s continual push for the mode shift incentive scheme to be boosted, she says the state opposition would work with the Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) to produce a gold standard freight network.

Britnell says this new network would include an analysis of the busiest and most important Victorian freight routes while also looking at issues preventing the running of more efficient trucks.

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