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Councils Commend Regional Rail Funding

2 May

The Mayors of three regional centres in western Victoria - Horsham, Hamilton and Ararat - have praised the State Government on its $1.4 billion investment in regional rail announced ahead of the forthcoming State budget.

Ararat Rural City Mayor Cr Paul Hooper says he was pleased to see reports of improved services to Ararat.

“We see our city as the gateway to western Victoria and the State Government’s announcement to increase rail services to Ararat will help open up Western Victoria to population and economic growth” Cr Hooper said.

The announcement for improved services to Ararat is supported by and validates the Grampians Barwon South West Passenger Services Feasibility Study (executive summary attached) released in April. The feasibility study recommends increased services to Ararat as the first stage of the development of rail connections into western Victoria, to be followed by upgrades to the line between Ballarat and Ararat, then re-introduction of rail services to Hamilton and Horsham from Ararat.
Mayors from all three Councils believe that the State Government announcement adds weight to the recommendations for the re-introduction of passenger rail to western Victoria.

Horsham Rural City Council Mayor, Cr Pam Clarke, says it is fantastic news that the State Government recognises that regional Victoria deserves the investment in passenger rail services.

“It is well understood that such passenger service enhancements will support social and economic development in western Victoria by providing better access for residents to employment opportunities, health services, education and training and social connections. The Grampians Barwon South West Study shows that the re-introduction of rail to Hamilton and Horsham can and should occur” Cr Clarke stated.

Cr Mary Ann Brown, Mayor Southern Grampians Shire Council, commended the State Government on this budget announcement.

“This announcement shows that the State Government acknowledges the importance of equitable services for regional Victoria, and the value and importance of rail services into regional areas” Cr Brown said.

“There 130,000 people living within 90 minutes of Hamilton, including in major centres in south east South Australia such as Mt Gambier. The return of passenger rail will provide improved access for these areas to Melbourne and Adelaide, increasing tourism markets and business opportunities” Cr Brown concluded.

The three Shires will be working together to lobby both the Federal and State Governments for the implementation of the recommendations of the Grampians and Barwon South West passenger services study. The full study can be viewed on the Council’s websites

A copy of the study can be found via the Horsham Rural City Council, Southern Grampians Shire Council, and Ararat Rural City Council websites.

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