Extension of Dandenong’s rail system is critical
August 2, 2017
Anyone who regularly travels along the congested Monash Fwy in Melbourne’s south-east understands that a plan to reduce the number of large-haul vehicles on this major thoroughfare makes, economic and environmental sense. It will also improve road safety and ultimately makes our city more livable.
This is why the team at Smart Recycling has always supported the Dandenong South Inland Port Project. The central tenet of the plan is the development of a Dandenong-South logistics, distribution and warehousing facility that is linked to the Port of Melbourne via high productivity road and rail connections. A critical component of the project is the extension of the rail link to the inland port site that Salta Properties is currently developing.
Key partners including; The City of Greater Dandenong, South East Melbourne Manufacturers Alliance, The Committee for Dandenong, and local businesses including Salta Properties have been working with the Level Crossing Removal Authority and Transport for Victoria on plans for the rail extension. Up until recently the extension of the rail link was planned to coincide with the upgrade to the Abbots Rd level crossing. The State Government has, however, significantly changed the plans and the two projects are now unable to happen concurrently. It is unclear if the rail extension will happen in the near future, if at all. If the rail link does not go ahead, the viability of the inland port, a project of state significance, is at stake.
This change in plan seems at odds with government’s long-term support for an inland port project in Dandenong South. The proposal was a key component of the State’s freight and logistics plan, Victoria – The Freight State. With the Port of Melbourne predicting the shipment of goods to quadruple in number per annum by 2035, it is critical that an efficient solution for freight transportation is being considered. According to Infrastructure Australia, rail freight is 3 times more energy efficient than road freight. With transport representing 14.4% of all Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Australia, and rail only contributing 0.37%, moving more freight by rail will have a significant environmental impact. Rail is also 50% cheaper than road transportation so it will also contribute to Victoria’s economic performance.
We hope the Daniels Government is not stepping away from their plan to extend Dandenong’s rail system as we believe this would be a shortsighted move and not in the best interest of all Victorians.
See here a Letter to Victorian Premier, The Hon Daniel Andrews from key partners supporting the rail extension.