VICTORIA's freight loads will double by 2035 and Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder wants to see "as much of it as possible'' go on to rail.
To enable that, he hopes the Government will be able to form more joint partnerships with the private sector, such as grain companies.
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And air freight was another major future opportunity for Victorian exporters, with two international export airports that would not be curfewed to "set up the state for a tremendous future''.
The Member for Polwarth spoke to the Rural Press Club of Victoria in Melbourne this morning about his Government's current transport works in rural and regional areas, and his future goals.
Being a "country boy'' who still has a small farm at Colac, Mr Mulder he always ran a "country filter, that goes across'' issues under his portfolio.
Policies centred around a "population-based'' way of thinking made him immediately think about the impact on country people.
Mr Mulder framed his speech by pointing out the "tough times'' the Coalition faced when it came to power in 2010, such as $2 billion in unexpected costs over-runs, many in his department.
But since, he said, the Government had made some hard decisions to better equip the state in future.
"We've settled things down, made some tough decisions, made ourselves un-populate in some areas . . . we had to do that, make some tough decisions and we stand by them,'' he said.
Initiatives to help country areas, included rural councils benefiting from $160 million of new funding, over four years, to help them fix deteriorating roads and bridges, he said.
However, when asked if this funding would become a recurrent part of the budget, or be extended any further, Mr Mulder said rural councils were "getting a very good deal at this point in time'' from the Coalition Government.
The Government was also working on a freight plan, to be released about August.
- See next week's The Weekly Times for more.