Benalla Ensign

Working group named

- By Simon Ruppert

The much-anticipate­d Benalla Working Group — which will be the voice of the community throughout the Inland Rail Project — has been named. The Working Group is: Janette Anderson — community member;

David Blore — community member;

John Dennis — community member;

Don Firth — Benalla Rural City councillor;

Annette Jones — community member;

Rowan McEwan — community member;

Pamela O’Connor — community member;

Graeme Paul — community member;

Bill Parris — community member;

Susan Pearce — SOS/Better Rail for Benalla;

Scott Upston — Benalla Rural City councillor.

ARTC general manager Victoria projects Ed Walker said he was looking forward to hearing a diverse range of views and ideas.

‘‘ARTC worked with Benalla Rural City Council to select the members of the Benalla Working Group, which was establishe­d to be representa­tive of the Benalla community,’’ Mr Walker said.

‘‘Members will bring a diverse range of views and ideas, while bringing wide-ranging skills and experience.

‘‘Community members were selected for their understand­ing of the local area and interest in the project, creating a link between Inland Rail and Benalla locals, so we can work together to find a design solution that meets community expectatio­ns and addresses concerns.

‘‘The group will work through each of the design options in a structured way to capture community sentiment, which will be used to inform the ongoing design process.

‘‘This process will see the community represente­d at key stages throughout the design developmen­t, planning and implementa­tion phases of the project, to provide input and feedback at each point, with the group acting as a conduit to the community.

‘‘While we may not be able to deliver everything the community is asking for, we are committed to doing as much as we can to incorporat­e feedback to ensure what we build supports opportunit­ies for future developmen­t of the area.

‘‘ARTC will communicat­e details for the first meeting to members in the coming weeks, which will be held via an online meeting platform due to COVID19. We are also currently considerin­g nomination­s for an independen­t chairperso­n of the group.’’

Benalla Rural City is represente­d in the group and Councillor Don Firth said he was looking forward to taking part.

‘‘The Working Group is a good representa­tion of the Benalla Community,’’ Cr Firth said.

‘‘We are grateful to the people who have put their hand up to contribute their time and energy to this important project.

‘‘Cr Upston and I are both looking forward to working with the ARTC and all members of the Working Group on this Inland Rail project and to achieving the best possible long-term outcome for Benalla.

‘‘The Working Group has an important role in representi­ng the interests of the community and keeping it informed, and providing input and feedback to the ARTC as this project relates to freight rail.

‘‘The Working Group has a Terms of Reference, which defines the extent of its authority and influence and within that scope, we’re looking forward to achieving what is possible for now and the future.’’

The Ensign would also like to clarify that in an article printed in last week’s edition we referred to a Glenrowan committee providing feedback to ARTC as the Glenrowan Working Group. There is no official working group in Glenrowan and the person quoted is part of the Glenrowan Improvers.

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