Federal Government funds Wodonga Rail Bypass
|Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for Transport and Regional Services
Leader of the National Party
14th May 2002
The Federal Government will spend $20 million over the next two years to build a rail bypass of Wodonga and an intermodal freight terminal serving the border region.
The Government will contribute $15 million in 2002-03 and $5 million in 2003-04 towards the $50 million cost of the project. The Victorian Government will contribute the remainder of the cost, under an agreement reached in December 2000.
"The project will relocate the railway line from Wodonga's central business district, eliminate twelve level crossings, and reduce traffic congestion," the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services, John Anderson, said.
It could create up to 2,000 jobs in Albury-Wodonga, including 60 full-time positions at the Uncle Bens pet food factory as a result of the $45 million expansion, and the rest in the Wodonga CBD where former railway land will be redeveloped for retail and business use.
"Uncle Bens of Australia is a major user of rail freight services to transport its product to interstate markets. Its three-year factory upgrade depends on the relocation of the railway line and the construction of a dedicated freight traffic spur line.
"The project will also increase the efficiency of interstate freight operations on the important Sydney-Melbourne corridor. A new West Wodonga railway station and freight terminal will be built adjacent to the Hume Highway. It is a great opportunity to establish a road-rail freight transfer facility, drawing custom from northeast Victoria and the Riverina.
"Fast access to markets within Australia and overseas is critical to the expansion of agribusiness. The project demonstrates the strategic benefits of governments working closely with industry to provide transport infrastructure that creates jobs and generates exports.
"As a bonus, the sale of the railway land in central Wodonga will enable a host of new commercial and retail developments to proceed, in line with the Wodonga City Council's Strategic Statement," Mr Anderson said.
Construction of the bypass is expected to begin later this year, with completion scheduled for late 2004.
Media contact: Paul Chamberlin 02 62777680