The Victorian government has boosted a scheme that helps to shift freight from road to rail with a $4 million injection.
The funding will extend the Mode Shift Incentive Scheme (MSIS) to 30 June 2021, and takes the total investment in the scheme to $24m over six years.
According to the Victorian government, the MSIS has already taken the equivalent of 28,000 truck trips off Victorian roads and onto rail.
“We’re moving more freight more efficiently and keeping our state connected by reducing rail costs and making it easier to get Victorian products to our ports,” said Minister for Ports and Freight Melissa Horne.
The MSIS provides incentives to freight operators to move more freight via rail. Current recipients of the scheme are Linx Portlink on the Shepparton corridor, Wimmera Container Line on the Horsham corridor, Westvic Container Export on the Warrnambool corridor, and Seaway Intermodal on the Mildura corridor.
Horne said the scheme improves the cost competitiveness of freight.
“This scheme benefits the community by getting trucks off roads which locals use every day and supporting industry through cost-effective movement of freight.”
Chair of the Freight on Rail Group, Dean Dalla Valle welcomed the Victorian government’s decision.
“A big thank you to Minister Horne for listening to industry and giving the scheme a critical lifeline during these unprecedented and uncertain times,” Dalla Valle said.
“The benefits of the scheme stretch well beyond regional freight businesses; the scheme helps to take trucks off local and regional roads, driving better road safety outcomes for the community, and is an investment in the future of regional rail freight jobs.”
Dalla Valle said the extension of the MSIS would benefit regional Victorian businesses.
“Australian regional exporters operate in highly competitive international markets and ending this scheme would have driven up freight costs and severely impacted many regional businesses,” he said.
“By continuing the scheme, the Andrews Government is helping to protect many regional jobs across the freight supply chain and putting the state’s economy on the right track towards recovery.”
The MSIS is one of a number of initiatives to ensure that Victoria’s growing freight task is handled by rail. By 2051, freight volumes in the state are expected to triple, and the government is also investing in improving access to the Port of Melbourne, building new intermodal terminals as Truganina and Beveridge, and funding the Port Rail Shuttle.