Batchelor to seek AusLink funding for channel deepening

<p>Victorian transport minister Peter Batchelor has confirmed that the Victorian Government will approach the Federal Government with a proposal to obtain AusLink funding for the port of Melbourne’s $650m channel deepening project.</p> <p>At the most recent Council of Australian Governments meeting &#8211 of the prime minister and premiers &#8211 it was agreed that ports and port infrastructure should be included under the AusLink funding formula, he said last night (Thursday, June 23).</p> <p>Mr Bachelor paid tribute at a Port of Melbourne Corporation function at South Wharf to his former federal counterpart, John Anderson, who yesterday announced his retirement from front bench politics. </p> <p>"Just when we have got the federal transport minister acknowledging that ports and ports-related infrastructure are all part of the infrastructure chain, he’s resigned," Mr Batchelor quipped.</p> <p>In addition to roads, for the first time, rail and ports infrastructure is included under AusLink at a national level, he said. </p> <p>"I think that is a significant move forward for the whole of the import-export system," Mr Batchelor said.</p> <p>Mr Batchelor pointed out that Victoria was the first state to sign up to AusLink and that it did so for very good reasons.</p> <p>"We did that to try to encourage the Federal Government to take the sort of decisions they made at COAG, to include ports and rail access to the ports as eligible projects to be considered for future funding."</p> <p>Mr Batchelor said channel deepening would certainly be one such project that the Victorian Government would be proposing for future AusLink funding.</p> <p>South Australia signed for AusLink today (see separate report).</p> <br />