February 16th 2008

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Articles from this issue:

FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Battle lines drawn for US Presidential race

EDITORIAL: Mitsubishi closure a blow to our manufacturing

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Will Rudd summit achieve anything?

BIOFUELS: Sugar industry - execution by policy madness

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: EI inquiry hears of more quarantine failures

ECONOMIC AFFAIRS: The lessons of the past we so quickly forget

STRAWS IN THE WIND: A new Bunyip intelligentsia? / Paddy McGuinness dies / The homeless

ASIA: Re-shaping Asia: The Great Game Mark II

INDONESIA: More good than bad: Suharto (1921-2008)

FATHERHOOD: Making men redundant (and harming our children)

FAMILY POLICY: Family-friendly policies at risk

REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH: Melbourne doctor's bid to decriminalise abortion

UNITED STATES: America's wrong course

LEADERSHIP: Five keys to democratic statesmanship

Demise of The Bulletin (letter)

Re-opening of South Gippsland rail? (letter)

Foreign intervention (letter)

The "more committees" fetish (letter)


BOOKS: CLASSICS: 62 Great Books from the Iliad to Midnight's Children, by Jane Gleeson-White

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Re-opening of South Gippsland rail? (letter)

by Bryan Finlay

News Weekly, February 16, 2008

I think Antony O'Brien's article on the Fischer review of the state of Victoria's rail infrastructure (News Weekly, February 2, 2008) is timely because we are just about at the point of "no return".

Let us hope that the Victorian Government has the will to seize the opportunity it now has to do something to remedy the shambles, and then build infrastructure for the future development of the state.

In South Gippsland we have a major dairy exporter in Murray Goulburn at Leongatha and another substantial operation in Burra Foods at Korumburra.

Fischer's review mentioned the possibility of re-opening the existing but disused South Gippsland rail line beyond Cranbourne to as far as Barry Beach.

The existing dairy operations would certainly be well served if they could be integrated in this, and the line is still here as far as Leongatha. It is used on a regular basis from Nyora to Leongatha by our valiant volunteer tourist-rail endeavour.

There is also the recent development of natural gas distribution in Leongatha and Korumburra which, along with a viable rail operation, would certainly be a stimulus to industrial development in these towns.

That would mean that more of our young people could find local employment. It is called "decentralisation". I know that would be a benefit to Victoria, as many of your readers would understand.

Most road-users in rural Victoria know of the damage that heavy road transport causes to our roads and which would be alleviated by more rail transport of goods.

It is also timely now that we are all becoming concerned about global warming to consider the cost to the environment of using road transport when we should be using rail.

The Fischer review says: "Rail is the safest and most environmentally-friendly form of land transport.

"Per tonne of freight hauled, rail requires less than one third of the fuel of road transport."

Bryan Finlay,
Nyora, Vic.

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