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Council's Push for Improved Passenger Services

4 April 2017

Eight Victorian councils launched a comprehensive public transport strategy in Ararat today as the first step towards lobbying for improved rail and coach services to boost business, tourism, health and education in Western Victoria.

The study recommends increased passenger rail and coach services between Ararat and Melbourne and return of passenger rail services to other parts of Western Victoria including Horsham and Hamilton. It also recommends extra coach services to improve connections between road and rail services across the Wimmera and South West Victoria and into South East South Australia.

The study investigates how to boost tourism and economic development via increased access to public transport. It also recommends upgrading operating rail stations and bus terminals to be compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act, allowing easier access for the elderly and people with a disability.

The municipalities supporting the project are Horsham and Ararat Rural Cities, and Southern Grampians, Glenelg, Northern Grampians, Yarriambiack, Hindmarsh, and West Wimmera Shire Councils.

Horsham Rural City Council Mayor Cr Pam Clarke said the standard of report produced was high, and was a strong platform for lobbying to State and Federal governments. “John Hearsch and his team have done an incredible job putting together this report which is supported by a high degree of evidence, consultation, and knowledge,” Cr Clarke said.

“Their level of expertise in the area of rail and passenger services means we have confidence in using this as the basis for achieving better public transport in our region.”

Mayor of the Southern Grampians Shire Council, Mary-Ann Brown, said improved access to public transport was vital in regional areas. “More than 110,000 people in Western Victoria only have limited access to passenger rail travel,” Cr Brown said.

“This project aims to bring our region up to speed with the rest of the state. Connectivity is critical to achieving development in rural Victoria and equitable transport provision is a part of that.”

A copy of the study can be found here. Alternatively, hard copies are available from all eight participating Councils upon request.

Media Contacts:

Alison Quade, Strategic Communications Coordinator (Southern Grampians Shire Council) 0429 601 208
Amy Rhodes, Media and Communications Officer (Horsham Rural City Council), ph. 5382 9763

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