The Weekly Advertiser

EDITORIAL: Mayor rightfully angry over rail

Dean Lawson Editorial Nov 2017

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 rail service 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 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.

The entire March 7, 2018 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

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Posted on Mar 7 2018

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