09.07.2024Submission to the Victorian Government’s Freight Plan

View the Committee’s submission to the Victorian Government’s Freight Plan.

Victoria’s sophisticated freight network rarely attracts attention, with high-volume agricultural exports, well-stocked supermarket shelves and the abundance of goods that meet our everyday needs often taken for granted. However, the centrality of freight and logistics in sustaining our prosperity and living standards should not be underestimated, with the sector contributing $21 billion to Victoria’s economy and supporting about 260,000 jobs.

By many measures, Victoria is Australia’s freight and logistics capital. The Committee’s Benchmarking Melbourne 2024 report notes that Melbourne ranks third among all peer cities for strength of the maritime professional services sector and strategically located port infrastructure. With the Port of Melbourne – Australia’s largest general cargo and container port – two curfew-free airports and an extensive road and rail network, Victoria is the preferred state for many freight operators.

To maintain this competitive advantage and help position the sector to meet future challenges, the Victorian Government is updating its freight plan. In response to the government’s discussion paper, the Committee’s submission highlights several key issues for consideration, including the need to:

  • Ensure that the new freight plan aligns with Plan Victoria.
  • Invest in transport infrastructure around the Port of Melbourne, including the Webb Dock Freight Link.
  • Commit to investing in the Western Interstate Freight Terminal and outline the timing of its construction.
  • Continue modernising Victoria’s rail freight network through ongoing gauge standardisation, upgrading tracks, enhancing signalling and implementing advanced technologies.

The new freight plan should outline a clear vision for the sector, with investment and planning that meets the challenges linked with higher freight volumes, a growing population, a changing economy and shifting public expectations concerning safety and the environment.

The submission aligns with the Committee’s Transporting Melbourne report and with the pre-budget submission to the Victorian Government. For further information on the Committee’s freight agenda, contact Brett Van Duppen at bvanduppen@melbourne.org.au.

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