A COMMUTER rail service connecting the Wimmera to Ballarat and Melbourne would keep professionals in the region, a government employee says.
Agriculture Victoria’s Sally Marcroft said her role managing workplace training for nearly 400 staff across the state meant she regularly travelled to Melbourne.
She said she was not in a unique position and a train service would make Horsham a viable professional hub.
It comes as Business Horsham called for a decentralisation of government bodies to help prevent population decreases in the Wimmera.
“A train service in Horsham is essential to build Horsham as the city it aspires to be,” Ms Marcroft said.
“While people often talk about keeping the youth in Horsham, I feel we want to keep (people aged in their) mid-40s in Horsham.
“The best way to keep mid-40s in Horsham is to ensure people can continue to build their career in Horsham.
“Many management and leadership positions require regular trips to Melbourne.
“I feel that the train is necessary to improve the livability of Horsham.”
Ms Marcroft said she travelled to Melbourne for three weeks of each month, for days at a time.
She said space on the current V-Line bus was not conducive to a good working commute.
“Having access to a train from Horsham to Melbourne would be brilliant,” she said.
“I prefer to take public transport so I don’t have to battle extreme tiredness as I drive home after a full day of meetings or delivering training.”
Ms Marcroft said the train could also keep young people in the region by providing them with a quick way to commute to Melbourne for study without having to move out of home.
Horsham Rural City Council mayor Pam Clarke said the rail link was a vital part of having a livable city into the future.
She said it would benefit young people seeking further education in Ballarat and Melbourne and could keep them in the Wimmera.