WAGGA City Council (WWCC) must move swiftly to avoid squandering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to develop a $75 million intermodal freight hub, according to former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer.
The staunch rail advocate called for the proposed development at Bomen to go ahead, following Traxion, the company behind the project, falling into voluntary administration earlier this week.
“WWCC needs to reprieve the situation as quickly as possible,” Mr Fischer said.
"I’m sorry to learn of this hiccup, hopefully a hiccup, because the Riverina can afford a fourth hub.”
Nearby freight hubs include Ettamogah, Harefield and Wodonga.
Mr Fischer said the key to a successful freight hub was having a good client base and a good operator.
Ettamogah Hub owner Col Rees said Traxion’s administration status was a “blow to the local industry”.
“(Traxion’s) bona fides are very credible,” he said.
“It does sadden me because it’s not good for the industry.
“Road has been dominant but there’s opportunity for rail to grow.”
He said WWCC needed to regroup to move forward and make a decision over its future.
WWCC general manager Phil Pinyon said the meeting with administrator Todd Gammel, of HLB Mann Judd, in Sydney yesterday was “very positive” and that “both parties are optimistic going forward”.
While councillor Paul Funnell said the news was “the circuit breaker needed to what’s consistently been a fantasy land approach to (the project)”, mayor Rod Kendall said commercial operators expressing interest was a “vote of confidence and demonstration of how viable this project is”.
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