Roads | January 28, 2020

Kealy calls for more support for rail freight

The Nationals Member for Lowan Emma Kealy is hopeful, but not optimistic, that the Minister for Ports and Freight will use her visit to Horsham tomorrow to announce that Labor will reverse its harsh cuts to the Mode Shift Incentive Scheme (MSIS).

“It is incredibly disappointing that the Andrews’ Labor Government has drastically cut funding to the MSIS which provides direct financial incentives for industry to shift containerised freight from road to rail,” Ms Kealy said.

“Labor have cut 20% from the MSIS budget and have failed to match The Nationals election commitment to invest $20 million in a four-year extension of the successful Scheme to take trucks off our country roads.

“Since Labor sold the Port of Melbourne rail freight operators have also been hit by ever increasing regulatory burdens and port charges, giving road freight a big competitive advantage over rail freight. 

“I am aware of one large export company who have already made the decision to move their freight by truck due to Labor’s funding cuts to the MSIS.

“This company alone is now putting an additional 3,000 trucks per year on our roads through Horsham and onto the Western Highway to Melbourne.

“This is just another example of how wrong Labor’s priorities are when they are shifting more freight off rail and onto our already dangerous roads.

“I am calling on Labor to address the rising port charges that are creating an unfair advantage for road freight and reverse their harsh cuts to the MSIS to make sure rail can again compete with road freight, shifting freight from road to rail and making our roads safer.”

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