GrainCorp says an $8.5 million investment to upgrade state-owned rail sidings at rail sidings at major grain silos around Victoria will be a major benefit to the whole industry.
The state government announced the spending in the state budget last week.
$5.2 million will be spent in the 2016/17 year to deliver the project, and a further $3.3 million will be spent by the end of 2017/18, according to budget papers.
The money will go towards upgrading rail sidings owned by VicTrack, the enterprise through which the state owns railway and tram lines.
The work is designed to complement an $80 million investment being made by agribusiness GrainCorp, aiming to improve the efficiency of its grain supply chain in Victoria through upgrades to its key sites on the rail network.
GrainCorp’s regional manager for Victoria, Peter Johnston, welcomed the state’s support.
“The primary beneficiaries of this investment are Victoria’s grain growers, as greater rail efficiency will unlock at least $5 per tonne that goes into their pockets through sharper prices for their grain,” Johnston reasoned.
“The many customers using our network will also benefit from significantly improved rail efficiency, allowing them to get Victoria’s crop to its destination as quickly and efficiently as possible.”
Johnston believes the improvements to rail infrastructure will drive around half a million tonnes of grain each year from road to rail.
“Investment in the government-owned rail infrastructure is critical to GrainCorp’s ability to deliver the benefits of our major Project Regeneration initiative,” he said.
Victorian agriculture minister Jaala Pulford said the state’s investment would cover upgrades at Warracknabeal, Beulah, Ouyen, Manangatang, Yarrawonga, Donald, Yelta, Wycheproof, Quambatook, Rainbow, Dunolly, Murrayville, Boort, Piangil, Oaklands, Murtoa and Nhill.
Johnston said the Federal Government should also invest in ARTC infrastructure at Murtoa and Nhill, if further gains are to be realised.
Pulford said the state’s investment would address lost time and poor train utilisation caused by slow train loading facilities at country sites, and inefficient track layouts at most sites that require excessive shunting.
“The Andrews Labor Government is determined to get Victorian grain moving to our ports quicker, make our country roads safer and growing the export potential of our farmers,” Pulford said.