I am continuing my work with the Western Rail lobby group because this area of Victoria is falling further behind when it comes to passenger services.
Horsham and Mildura are the only regional cities without passenger trains and we know from research that some Wimmera people needing medical treatment in Ballarat and Melbourne are not making the journey down, simply because it is too hard.
That is a problem we must fix.
The latest update is that we are seeking $4 million from the state and federal governments to develop a business case which we would then return to them for consideration.
Western Rail has already completed a feasibility study as an overview, but the business case would be more detailed and map out what work needs to be done.
We must continue lobbying the state and federal governments to commit to funding for the infrastructure needed.
While the long-term goal is to restore rail to the Wimmera, the immediate aim is to improve the connection between existing bus services and the 19 new train services that go to Ararat.
At the moment the extra trains at Ararat mean there is not enough bus services connecting with the additional trains.
It’s been a busy past few weeks at council with the commencement of our new chief executive Sunil Bhalla.
Sunil brings a wealth of experience and skills to the role and I’m pleased to say he’s settled in quickly and is managing the organisation in a positive and respectful way.
He has a proven track record in facilitating major commercial and industrial enterprises, good governance and prudent financial management. That means you can expect him to be working hard to create new jobs and industry for our region.
Another exciting milestone has also occurred at the Kalkee Road Children and Community Hub where children are now attending playgroup sessions.
After a decade of planning, it's pleasing to see the building and services come together and provide true value to the region’s young families. Not only is the interior of the hub an enjoyable place to be, but the playground is fantastic.
There has been no shortage of events to attend in Horsham and I was rapt to be at the Horsham Country Music Festival, Horsham College Debutante Ball, the Courage to Care Exhibition and the Diversity Day event.