Ministers for the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities The Hon Michael McCormack MP Deputy Prime MinisterMinister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie Minister for Regional ServicesMinister for SportMinister for Local Government and Decentralisation The Hon Alan Tudge MP Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population The Hon Sussan Ley MP Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories The Hon Andrew Broad MP Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister The Hon Scott Buchholz MP Assistant Minister for Roads and Transport The Hon Barnaby Joyce MPFormer Deputy Prime MinisterFormer Minister for Infrastructure and Transport The Hon Dr John McVeigh MPFormer Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government The Hon Keith Pitt MPFormer Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister The Hon Damian Drum MPFormer Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister Senator the Hon Fiona Nash Former Minister for Regional DevelopmentFormer Minister for Local Government and Territories The Hon Darren Chester MP Former Minister for Infrastructure and TransportFormer A/g Minister for Regional DevelopmentFormer A/g Minister for Local Government and Territories The Hon Warren Truss MP Former Deputy Prime Minister Former Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development The Hon Paul Fletcher MP Former Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities The Hon Jamie Briggs MP Former Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development

Murray Basin Rail Project reopens Maryborough to Ararat line

Media Release

BJ007/2018

29 January 2018

Joint release with:

Jacinta Allan

Victorian Minister for Public Transport

Dan Tehan

Minister for Social Service
Federal Member for Wannon

The historic Maryborough to Ararat rail line has reopened with driver training kicking off on the $440 million Murray Basin Rail Project.

Federal Member for Wannon and Minister for Social Services Dan Tehan joined Victorian Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan in Avoca today to inspect the line as train drivers undertake training on the upgraded rail corridor.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Barnaby Joyce said the 87-kilometre Maryborough to Ararat rail corridor, which closed in the early 2000s, was set to return as a freight line, boosting local primary producers and exporters.

“Victoria's Murray Basin is a nationally important producer and exporter of grain, mineral sands, fruit, vegetables and wine. The Murray Basin Rail Project is an investment in these industries, the competitiveness of our port and freight operators, and Australia's economy,” Mr Joyce said.

Victorian Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan said the start of driver training was a significant milestone for this vital project.

“The reopening of the Ararat to Maryborough line for driver training is a significant step forward as we get on with the job to help our primary producers get more produce to port. This stage of the project has supported hundreds of local jobs, delivered real economic benefits to rural communities and will provide long lasting support to Victorian farmers and businesses,” Ms Allan said.

Federal Member for Wannon Dan Tehan said the project was supporting farmers, their families and the region's economy by investing in transport infrastructure.

“The overarching project will be a game changer for rail freight in Victoria and will provide a viable alternative to road freight. More than 500 workers, including 220 from regional Victoria, have been employed on the Australian and Victorian government-funded project, with more than 40 businesses from central Victoria engaged to provide a range of services,” Mr Tehan said.

A phased return of freight services to the Mildura line is also underway, with sections of the track progressively opening from south to north.

The Australian Government has committed $240.2 million and the Victorian Government $199.8 million to fund the Murray Basin Rail Project. Construction started in early 2015 and is due for completion by late 2018. For more information, visit www.murraybasinrailproject.com.au.