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Tuesday, 11 October 2005
BELOVED BLUEBIRDS LEFT OUTSIDE TO ROT
The future for South Australia’s iconic Bluebird’s (Barossa Wine Train) looks dim after the cars were removed from shelter at Islington last week and banished to the open yards where they will be targets to vandalism and weather.
Member for Schubert, Ivan Venning is disappointed and angry that one of South Australia’s most renowned railway cars has been removed from storage and left to deteriorate in the weather. He said it’s a terrible case of our State’s heritage left to rot while the Rann Labor Government prevaricates.
“I’m sad that it has come to this. I had hoped we would never get to this stage and a local sale of the trains would have been almost wrapped up by now, but unfortunately that is not the case,” Mr Venning said.
“Now the cars are out in the open they are at serious risk of being vandalised and will also be prone to deterioration due to the weather conditions. We’re on borrowed time now. The seat fabric and lining are still in excellent condition but everyday exposed to the elements will cause it to deteriorate.”
Mr Venning, with the backing of train enthusiasts, has been lobbying for the Rann Labor Government to provide assistance in kind for public liability insurance but to date the Government have failed to offer any solutions or encouragement, either directly to him or any of the prospective buyers and operators.
Whilst a number of private business owners in the Barossa Valley are still interested in purchasing the train and getting the Barossa Wine Train “back on track” this latest development means the deal is even more urgent to negotiate.
“I am still confident we may be able to achieve a positive outcome but time is no longer on our side so we need to move quickly,” he said.
Mr Venning is due to take part in a meeting with representatives from the South Australian Tourism Commission, Proud Australia (the current owners) and prospective Barossa business people to weigh up the current situation. He will also raise the matter in Parliament next week, again putting pressure on the Minister for Tourism, Jane Lomax-Smith and the Rann Labor Government.
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