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HORSHAM council will advocate for a dedicated rail minister for both state and federal levels of government.
It comes after Councillor David Grimble put forward a Notice of Motion at the council's March meeting on Monday night.
Cr Grimble said Horsham council was well placed to advocate for a rail minister.
"We own rail infrastructure and (are) one of the few councils nationally to own and lease intermodal facilities, whilst appreciating the complexities of rail," he said.
"It is in our best interests to have a dedicated state and federal minister to enable us a direct conduit into government that will best suit the regions.
"We are currently campaigning for more efficient freight on rail through investment in standardisation, mode shift and port access initiatives through our membership with the Rail Freight Alliance."
Horsham council has also partnered with other Wimmera councils to advocate for return of passenger rail to the region.
Cr Grimble said the current state and federal transport ministers had multiple portfolios which prevented them from properly focusing on the needs of rail.
"Transport is shared with other portfolios and is covered across a number of different government agencies," he said.
Federal Transport Minister Michael McCormack is also the Deputy Prime Minister, Infrastructure Minister, Regional Development Minister and Leader of The Nationals. State Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan is also the Major Projects Minister.
Cr Grimble recommended council use strategic opportunities at the discretion of the council's chief executive officer Sunil Bhalla to advocate for a rail minister.
These included asking for the support of the North West Municipalities Association up to Municipal Association of Victoria; raising motions to Municipal Association of Victoria and Australian Local Government Association; and corresponding to relevant parties.
Cr Pam Clarke supported Cr Grimble's motion.
"I agree there needs to be a rail minister. Infrastructure in court community is key, and to have one minister for all transport is a massive job. This is a massive issue right across the country," she said.
The motion was carried all in favour.
The Wimmera Mail-Times contacted the office of federal Transport Minister Michael McCormack for comment. A spokesman for Mr McCormack said there was "nothing to advocate for".
"Mr McCormack is the Transport Minister, and therefore is the ail minister," he said.
This article first appeared on www.mailtimes.com.au
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