Representatives of the horticulture industry told the inquiry the cost of transporting fruit, especially around the Mildura region, continued to be a significant issue.
The Australian Table Grape Association (ATGA) said about half its fruit was transported by road and half by rail but, with the growth in exports expected within five years, the roads would not have capacity to move the additional freight. The inquiry was told the speed limit of a road near Robinvale had been dropped due to the quantity of trucks using it.
The ATGA said that, ideally, 80 per cent of its fruit would be moved by rail. Citrus Australia similarly questioned the adequacy of transport infrastructure in the Mildura region, noting: "It is currently more expensive to freight goods by road from Mildura to Melbourne than it is to ship from Melbourne to Tokyo."
It is clear to anyone there are serious issues with the way V/Line are making access available in regional areas and Freight Victoria does not seem to be on the ball either.
I have expressed my concerns about the urgent need for the BG track to Robinvale to be placed back into services and intermodal being established at that location with the amount of trucks being in the area and carting south to Melbourne.
Mildura roads will fail export growth, inquiry told