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HORSHAM Rural City councillors have criticised a regional transport report, accusing it of leaving out the Wimmera.
Councillors said the state government’s Victoria’s Regional Network Development Plan only mentioned bus services.
Cr Sue Exell said Horsham needed a direct passenger rail link to Melbourne and was disadvantaged as a regional city because of transport issues.
“We aren’t on the radar, not at all,” she said.
“We are a regional city but you can’t get on a train direct to Melbourne.”
Cr Exell said the state government wanted to give Wimmera more buses but people didn’t want that.
“It’s too hard to get on the bus if you’re a mum with a pram or you have a walker,” she said.
Cr Tony Phelan said Horsham needed better transport connections to Melbourne, particularly elderly residents and people with a disability.
“This is a very disturbing document, in some ways,” he said.
“The essential ingredients to growing our region and entice families are jobs, good support services, environments and connectivity to major centres.
“Our region will not grow its vibrancy if governments do not include it in their plans.”
Cr Phelan said it appeared the region had been removed from Victoria’s boundaries.
“Western Victoria has been excised and it saved a lot of money for the government, because we don’t get mentioned in the report,” he said.
“We’ve dropped off the map. The plan thumbs its nose at our community and our region.”
Cr Phelan also called for rail gauges to be standardised so that passenger rail could be extended to Horsham.
Cr Barber said the reports committed only extended to buses.
“Whoop de doo,” he said.
“It calls for investigations into passenger rail in the future.
“How long away is the future? It’s a bit of a joke.”
Cr David Grimble said the report was city-centric.
This article first appeared on www.mailtimes.com.au
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