Logic industrial hub on track to a rail terminal

Bill Tilley

Bill Tilley

WODONGA Council is in advanced discussions with the Victorian government about wooing a rail terminal operator to the Logic industrial hub.

A rail connection has been a critical element of Logic since its inception nearly a decade ago.

Even though a rail terminal has been built at Ettamogah, the council has never given up of creating one at Logic to service the freight needs of tenants.

Wodonga mayor Rod Wangman declined to comment on the deal.

The Border Mail app-roached the office of Victorian deputy premier and Rural and Regional Development Minister Peter Ryan for comment, but it failed to respond.

Member for Benambra Bill Tilley said he welcomed any major investment in his electorate.

“If the business and economic cases stack up then go for it,” he said.

“If private businesses need additional funding they should be looking at listing on the Australian Stock Exchange to help.

“It is not necessarily always the case for taxpayers’ money to be propping private businesses up.”

Logic has six tenants, including Woolworths, and the 580-hectare centre at Barnawartha North was recently independently valued at $41.5 million.

The council failed to find a buyer in 2008.

Logic’s creation was a major factor in the city’s debt level sky-rocketing from less than $10 million in 2000-01 to almost $33 million in 2006-07.

Wodonga’s debt has put the council in the sights of the Victorian auditor-general office with a med-ium risk of longer-term financial sustainability in place since 2007-08.

The council’s plan to build a rail terminal at Logic has been a saga dating back to 2005.

The former Victorian Labor government committed $4 million, the council pledged $6 million and the federal government was lobbied for the balance of the project once valued at $21 million.

The $4 million state government contribution sat in limbo until being re-directed to a truck stop.

Last year the council agreed to buy five kilometres of old railway track from central Wodonga for $1 on the basis it paid for its removal, which cost $361,500, in a deal crunched with VicTrack.

The redundant railway track was stored at Logic in the hope it could one day build a rail terminal.

Ettamogah rail hub owner Colin Rees said it had an efficient connection to the Australian Rail Track Corporation network and $20 million worth of spur line was in the ground.

“On top of everything, I’d guess there would be at least $15 million in ARTC connection costs that would end up being borne by users,” he said.