‘Absolutely shafted’ over rail line: Hinch
KEY federal senator – and possibly soon-to-be Victorian government powerbroker – Derryn Hinch has thrown his support behind the Maroona-Portland rail line upgrade, saying it was “bureaucratic madness” that it was left out of the Murray Basin Rail project.
Senator Hinch raised the issue in the Senate last week, following a visit by Glenelg Shire Mayor Anita Rank and chief executive Greg Burgoyne.
The long-neglected Maroona-Portland line means grain trains from the north west head to Geelong, instead of to Portland, and it also means many more trucks on local roads heading to the Port of Portland.
“Why has the Maroona-Portland line not been made a priority for a project of this scale,” Senator Hinch asked Senator Bridget McKenzie, the Minister representing the Deputy Prime Minister in the Senate.
“All you’d need to do is upgrade the sleepers – seems a piece of cake.
“The Maroona-Portland line has huge support among voters in South West and North West Victoria. It would reduce thousands of truck movements each day and ensure greater community safety.
“How do you justify this bureaucratic madness that the Maroona-Portland rail line was left out of the project in the first place?”
Senator McKenzie said she would take questions about the specifics of the Maroona-Portland line on notice and get back to Senator Hinch after she had spoken to Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack.
Senator Hinch told the Observer that Western Victoria was being “absolutely shafted” over freight and passenger lines.