Call for commitment: VFF urged project to get back on track

THE state's peak farming body has called on the state and federal governments to "fully commit" to funding the Murray Basin Rail Project.

Originally outlined in 2015, the $440 million dollar rail project was set to be constructed in three stages and scheduled for completion by the end of last year. 

VFF president David Jochinke.

VFF president David Jochinke.

The project included promised increases in tonne axle load capacity and train speeds. 

But budget blowouts and unrealistic time frames and an announcement by Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan of the need to "re-scope the project" meant the rail scheme hit a stand-still and not yet passed stage two.

Last month, funds were declared close to exhausted, resulting in the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) voicing their frustration. 

"Farmers are not interested in political point scoring from either side," VFF president David Jochinke said. 

"A commitment was made over four years ago to build the Murray Basin Rail Project and we are still waiting for it to be completed." 

For more of this story, grab a copy of the July 15 edition of The Guardian.