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THE Victorian government and Wodonga Council are being courted for financial support for a proposed rail hub at Logic industrial hub to be operated by SCT Logistics.
The Border Mail has seen documents outlining the incentives being sought by SCT, which includes the council agreeing to defer the payment for land at Logic, the right to reserve adjacent blocks of land and a multi-year rate holiday.
The state government is being asked to contribute about $7 million to cover the earthworks required to prepare the site for the terminal and the installation of the rail line.
SCT has proposed to spend more than $30 million on establishing sites at Wodonga and Altona.
The council’s plan to build a rail terminal at Logic has been a saga dating back to 2005 with a similar privately operated facility established at Ettamogah.
Questions remain whether two identical facilities located so close could be viable.
Industry sources said the best chance of the proposed Wodonga hub succeeding would be if SCT was able to secure a long-term freight contract from the outset.
Council chief executive officer Patience Harrington said it had not given up hope of building a rail hub at Logic.
“The council has consistently indicated that the development of a rail terminal is the critical final pillar in the realisation of the full potential of the Logic hub on regional, state and national development,” she said.
“The council has identified and spoken to potential operators and will continue to do so to achieve what has always been the plan for this industrial hub.
“It is a policy of the council that any commercial negotiations past or present remain commercial in confidence.”
SCT has been approached for comment, but declined to respond.
Former Wodonga mayor Mark Byatt has been chairman of the Rail Freight Alliance for more than a year.
It is made up of 24 regional councils and will hold its annual conference in Melbourne on October 10.
The SCT Wodonga- Altona deal could be announced at the conference with state Transport Minister Terry Mulder and former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer among the speakers.
The Victorian government refused to confirm details of the deal.
“The Victorian Coalition government is in continuing discussions about opportunities for growth at Logic,” a statement said.
“We are always interested in examining business proposals which grow jobs and economic benefits for the communities of the North East.”
But Ettamogah rail hub owner Colin Rees doubted the area could sustain two similar operations.
“Ettamogah is a sustainable, fully commercially viable rail hub built to meet market demand because businesses lacked a freight rail option,” he said.
WHO IS SCT?
SCT Logistics is an Australian interstate transport company operating rail and road haulage, with facilities in Brisbane, Sydney, Parkes, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.
The company was founded in 1974 and was initially an east-west rail operator.
SCT offers a full complement of transport and logistics services, including rail and road linehaul services, refrigerated transport services, contract management, warehousing with bonded and refrigerated facilities, and tailored rail solutions including bulk haulage.
This article first appeared on www.bordermail.com.au
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