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The past year has seen great progress achieved by the South & West Gippsland Transport Group and a lot of it has come from the support that has been received by our affiliates and followers. The supporter base of the social media campaign has more than tripled over the last 12 months with approximately 4,000 people showing their engagement and interest and this has been gauged through the Facebook page and recently closed online petition on Change.org, where a total of 2,420 signatures were accumulated.
In the first few months of the year, the South & West Gippsland Transport Group worked closely and was able to establish relationships with numerous political, union and transport advocacy based groups. This garner in support allowed the South & West Gippsland Transport Group to organise the two Public Transport Victoria Regional Network Development Plan Community Consultations that took place in Leongatha on July the 16th and October the 22nd.
These two Community Forums provided the South & West Gippsland Transport Group with the opportunity to raise and identify the key public transport and infrastructure projects and improvements that need to occur over the next 20 to 30 years in South Gippsland and neighbouring municipalities. The Rail, Tram & Bus Union must be acknowledged for their assistance in this process and also featuring the South & West Gippsland Transport Group and Rail Revival Alliance in the March 2015 edition of ‘Loco Lines’.
The local media organisations such as ‘The Great Southern Star’ (Leongatha) and ‘South Gippsland Sentinel-Times’ that are always willing to share our message into the South Gippsland community deserve credit as they have been hugely responsible for the increased engagement and supporter base over the last 12 months. The support gained through the online petition, ‘Return of the Leongatha to Melbourne Passenger Trains on the South Gippsland Rail Corridor’, which was closed on December 13 will still be used to update supporters and was tabled at the South Gippsland Shire Council Meeting that took place on December 15 by South & West Gippsland Transport Group Co-Chair and Cr. Andrew McEwen.
The next focus of the South & West Gippsland Transport Group heading into 2016 and beyond is to deliver an integrated transport plan in collaboration with local government support and secure help the local municipalities gain funding for these projects that are of significant importance to the economic development of the South Gippsland region. The 2016 Federal election will also present an opportunity to establish working relationships with candidates contesting the electorate of McMillan and push transport reform highly on the agenda.
Monthly South & West Gippsland Transport Group meetings are occasions that we will be trying to eagerly organise for those who want to get closely involved. Special mentions for the progress achieved this year go out to South and West Gippsland Transport advocates and members Max Semken, Cr. Andrew McEwen, Brian Hess, Chris Cantlon, Bret Levenspiel and David Amour. We hope that everyone had a great Christmas and will have a Happy New Year!
Message sent on behalf of the South & West Gippsland Transport Group.
“The South & West Gippsland Transport Group aims to improve public transport. It is advocating the return of rail services to Leongatha, to establish a rail loop between Cranbourne and Pakenham and to improve bus services between towns and Melbourne”.
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