Mayor right­fully an­gry over rail

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

Hor­sham mayor Pam Clarke is ‘hop­ping mad’, has hit the roof and fair enough!

Cr Clarke couldn’t help herself when she read a State Gov­ern­ment me­dia release call­ing on the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment to ‘get on with the job’ of re­leas­ing Vic­to­ria’s Re­gional Rail Re­vival fund­ing so work could start on projects.

“It’s like we don’t ex­ist out here. We just keep getting ig­nored,” she said.

Cr Clarke, also a mem­ber of a West­ern Rail Project Con­trol Group in­volv­ing eight mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, was an­gry be­cause the gov­ern­ment’s great plans for re­gional rail ser­vices fall sig­nif­i­cantly short of the mark.

Even if the state gets fed­eral money, it will mean lit­tle, if any­thing to the Wim­mera.

While the state’s re­gional rail plan­ning in­volves projects across parts of the state, even in the south-west, any pas­sen­ger rail ser­vice to a vast area west of Ararat re­mains notable in its ab­sence.

Apart from a na­tional Over­land ser­vice that di­verts through Gee­long, Vic­to­ria con­tin­ues to have no pas­sen­ger west of Ararat.

Bus travel re­mains an of­ten-in­ap­pro­pri­ate com­pro­mise.

“The gov­ern­ment brought out a re­port last year and we wrote to them say­ing we were dis­ap­pointed that much of west­ern Vic­to­ria was not recog­nised,” Cr Clarke said.

“But it’s like the state stops at Ballarat with an iso­lated out­post at Ararat.

“Each time we get one of these pub­lic state­ments from the gov­ern­ment we can’t help but feel an­gry and frus­trated.

“We’re not in the pic­ture and feel like we’re not be­ing heard or ac­knowl­edged as an im­por­tant part of the state. It’s not good enough.”

Cr Clarke urged west­ern Vic­to­ri­ans tired of miss­ing out on modern pas­sen­ger rail rail ser­vice ser­vices to make a louder noise. “We need more peo­ple to come forward with their sto­ries and is­sues, to join a ‘call to arms’ and make their views known,” she said.

Hear, hear Cr Clarke. You cer­tainly have our sup­port.

Cul­tural mile­stone

We can’t let the ap­proach­ing long week­end ar­rive without for­mally ac­knowl­edg­ing a sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone in Aus­tralian cul­ture and sport.

A con­cert at Har­row’s Johnny Mul­lagh Park on Sun­day will cel­e­brate the 150th an­niver­sary of the first Aus­tralian cricket team to tour Eng­land.

In 1868 an Aus­tralian indige­nous team, made up of play­ers from across south-west Vic­to­ria in­clud­ing the Wim­mera, took part in a se­ries of ex­hi­bi­tion games.

Har­row was the home of the team’s lead­ing player Johnny Mul­lagh. To those early trail­blaz­ers, we sa­lute you. The Har­row First XI Leg­ends Con­cert from 6pm will fea­ture per­for­mances by Isa­iah Fire­brace, Neil Mur­ray, Todd Cook and Benny Walker.

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