Council welcomes Federal Funding Announcement for Maroona to Portland

Published on 17 May 2024


Southern Grampians Shire Council has welcomed the Federal Government budget commitment of $150 million for the Maroona to Portland Rail Line upgrade.

The line, which covers 172 kilometres, connects the western half of Victoria to the national grid and the Port of Portland.

This funding will increase axel limits ultimately removing 40km/hr speed restrictions on the line to an increased speed of 80km/hr. The upgrade will make exports more globally competitive for regional producers, create a robust rail infrastructure, strengthen supply chains, and importantly help to reduce the reliance of heavy freight on our regional roads.

Southern Grampians Shire Council has worked tirelessly behind the scenes to advocate for funding for this project in partnership with surrounding Councils and as an active member of the Rail Freight Alliance, and has been featured in the current Community Investment Plan.

Southern Grampians Shire Council Mayor David Robertson said this is a huge win for the region not only in improving road safety but also adding to the local economy.

“There has been a growing demand for mineral sands to be brought from the Horsham and Wimmera area towards the Port of Portland where road freight is currently the only viable option due to the current ARTC level of service on the line.

“To move some of that freight back onto rail will undoubtedly help improve the overall condition of local roads. We know our communities have been impacted by 24 hour a day truck movements of B doubles or bigger which has posed a multitude of challenges for the maintenance of those roads.

“To have a project like this funded locally, will also have a positive impact on our regional economy and the related industries,” said Cr Robertson.

Southern Grampians Shire Councillor and Rail Freight Alliance member, Katrina Rainsford congratulated the Federal Government on funding this important project.

“I join members of the Rail Freight Alliance in congratulating the Federal Government on providing the much-needed funding to upgrade this important rail freight route. Our communities will be safer and the reduction in fossil fuel consumption will be significant.”

The upgrades will also support the Federal Government’s emission reduction targets.

Southern Grampians Shire Council will continue to advocate for priorities with delegates travelling to Melbourne later this month to table other key issues within the Southern Grampians.

“Southern Grampians Shire is a great place to live and work. However, continued hard work and collaboration between Council and the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments is needed to maintain our status as one of Victoria’s most liveable regional areas and to overcome significant service gaps which are creating disadvantages in our community,” concluded Cr Robertson. 

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