North East Link key to boosting productivity | My Machinery
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North East Link key to boosting productivity

Easing city-bound congestion through a North East Link road must be an integral part of the State Government’s 2013 Budget, the Victorian Farmers Federation says. The VFF’s Pre-Budget submission highlights the need to link the Metropolitan Ring Road and EastLink to boost productivity for the agricultural and food processing sectors. “The government has invested $600 million in the new Epping Market, but current traffic conditions are highly restrictive for producers on the Mornington Peninsula, Gippsland, and Melbourne’s east,” VFF president Peter Tuohey said. “Linking the two freeways will give fruit, vegetable and cut flower growers in these areas access to the new market which has an annual turnover of $1.6 billion. “Efficient transport systems will allow the agricultural sector to meet the food production targets set by the state government.” The VFF’s calls follow this week’s report by the Federal Government’s Infrastructure and Transport Department – The State of Our Cities – that stated congestion on the roads was affecting productivity in Melbourne. “The government’s report states that transport congestion is affecting the movement of freight and increasing inefficiencies, our growers in Eastern Victoria are experiencing similar problems. “We urge the government to undertake a full-scale cost-benefit analysis of the North East Link,” Mr Tuohey said. The VFF’s submission also highlights the need for investment in the rail network. “The government’s 2013 Budget needs to provide funds for a staged standardisation of the rail network,” Mr Tuohey said. “Many lines are still broad gauge which restricts the movement of grain and other rural freight.” The VFF encourages the government to invest in the upgrade of freight rail lines. “The passenger lines have received a lot of investment and upgrades in recent years, but the freight lines need investment to improve supply chain efficiency,” Mr Tuohey said. “The agriculture sector produced $9bn worth of exports last year and much of that relies on rail to get to port. We need rail investment to remain competitive.”

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