Beveridge Intermodal Freight Terminal to be built by 2029

By Colin MacGillivray

A MULTI-BILLION dollar freight terminal at Beveridge could become a reality by the end of the decade after the Federal Government-owned National Intermodal Corporation last week announced it would acquire 1100 hectares of land in the area.

The move paves the way for the construction of the proposed Beveridge Intermodal Freight Terminal, BIFT, which is planned as a major node for the under-construction Inland Rail project.

Inland Rail will enable double-stacked trains up to 1.8 kilometres long to move between ports in Geelong, Melbourne and Brisbane necessitating the construction of new freight hubs with the capacity to handle them.

Mitchell Shire Council and the City of Whittlesea are enthusiastic supporters of the BIFT, which they believe could support up to 20,000 jobs in the region.

Construction of the BIFT is slated to begin in 2024-25, with an estimated completion date in 2028-29.

Mitchell Shire Council Mayor Fiona Stevens described the project as ‘transformational’ and called on the State Government to commence work on a Northern Freight Precinct Structure Plan as soon as possible.

The State Government has previously voiced its preference for a freight hub in Melbourne’s west to be built before the BIFT.

“This is a significant and exciting win for our community, bringing thousands of jobs opportunities right to our doorstep. These jobs will be both while developing and building and then supporting and servicing this precinct,” Cr Stevens said.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for all residents throughout our shire to access work close to home. Securing diverse and significant job opportunities is vital to the wellbeing and liveability for our residents.”

City of Whittlesea chair administrator Lydia Wilson also welcomed National Intermodal’s announcement.

“The BIFT is expected to deliver an enormous boost to local employment with some 20,000 jobs required for both construction and ongoing operations and it will contribute $3.5 billion to the economy each year,” she said.

“We look forward to working with National Intermodal and our neighbouring councils to progress with this project so we can see the benefits to local communities and beyond as soon as possible.”

Labor Member for McEwen Rob Mitchell said National Intermodal’s development of the precinct would be guided by a Federal Government review into Inland Rail that was currently underway.

“We welcome this news and look forward to this being another step in the economic growth of our area,” he said.

“This is the key to unlock the economic potential in our region.”

Mr Mitchell said the development of the BIFT would also include upgrades to key road corridors, including the construction of a new Hume Freeway interchange at Camerons Lane.

Mitchell Shire Council chief executive Brett Luxford said the Camerons Lane upgrade was another vital project for the area.

“This investment in the Beveridge Intermodal Freight Terminal together with Camerons Lane Interchange will change the face of Melbourne and northern Victoria,” he said.

“Funding projects of this scale early in the life of growing communities is truly transformational and will ensure that our communities have access and connectivity to the areas where they live, work, and play.

“These projects will support future decades of housing and jobs expansion.”

Liberal Member for Northern Metropolitan Region Evan Mulholland said the state opposition welcomed the announcement.

“This is great news for jobs in our region. The task now is to ensure that the State Government steps up with the infrastructure to support this massive project, including upgrades to Camerons Lane and a diamond interchange to the Hume,” he said.

“We’ll keep advocating on behalf of the community to achieve this.”

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