TRANSPORT Minister Terry Mulder has opened the door for Horsham rail freight terminal to be decommissioned after Qube Logistics vacates the site.
Qube has operated from the Mill Street site for four months and there is no indication when it will leave.
After a meeting with Horsham Rural City Council and Member for Lowan Hugh Delahunty on Tuesday, Mr Mulder said the terminal could be shut down after Qube vacated the site.
The Australian Rail Track Corporation leased the Mill Street site to Qube after the rail freight company failed to reach a commercial agreement with Wimmera Container Line to use the Wimmera Intermodal Freight Terminal at Dooen.
"Once the Horsham site is vacated by Qube, the Australian Rail Track Corporation will be able to commence the process to decommission the site, initially by formally requesting that it be removed from its long-term lease with the Transport Department," he said.
"Once this occurs, the site will revert to VicTrack ownership, which can commence the process of working with council and the Horsham community on the future use of the site."
Despite paving the way for the site to be decommissioned, Mr Mulder failed to say when it would become inactive.
Council chief executive Peter Brown said while Mr Mulder had not formally committed to decommissioning the site, it was 'almost a given'.
"When this matter is resolved and Qube vacates that site, our understanding is that the site will be closed," he said.
"It is certainly well understood by all parties the Australian Rail Track Corporation, the Department of Transport and Horsham council that it will occur."
Horsham North Residents Committee secretary Rae Nelson said Mr Mulder was 'fence-sitting' because the decommissioning depended on Qube vacating the Mill Street terminal.
"I suppose we are going to have to be content with that and just be patient and see how long it takes for Qube to move," she said.
"If Qube is still there at the end of April when its lease renewal comes up again, I wonder what Mr Mulder's office will do then.
"The only next big breakthrough we can hope for is that there will be a public announcement that Qube and Wimmera Container Line have reached an agreement.
"People are just fed up the poor people who live close to the site have not been able to open their house windows all summer because of the dust."