PASSENGER rail, mobile blackspots and rates are just some of the main state election priorities outlined by the Horsham Rural City Council.
The council announced its list of advocacy priorities at its August meeting on Monday night.
The list includes four local infrastructure projects – Horsham CBD Revitalisation Stage One, Horsham Regional Livestock Exchange Roofing, Horsham Aquatic Centre Redevelopment and replacement of heritage floor at the Horsham Town Hall.
The council’s list of regional advocacy projects were funding a business case to return passenger rail to Horsham, fix mobile blackspots and a state-wide rates strategy.
Mayor Pam Clarke said she had talked to premier Daniel Andrews at the Victorian Regional Cities Meeting last week about advocating for more funding.
“A lot of funding is going to large metro councils that don’t need it,” she said.
“It’s really important to sure sure that the councils that need the money the most are getting it – regional cities don’t just mean Ballarat, Bendigo or Geelong. We are supporting four of the most cash strapped councils in the state where we are situated.”
Cr David Grimble said he was pleased with the list of priorities outlined.
“It’s important to not only advocate for the return of passenger rail, but to advocate for the frequency of it,” he said.
“If we don’t get the frequency model right, it could be not suitable. For mobile blackspots, they need to be identified by residents and then we need to advocate to fix them.
“With the state wide rates strategy, we need to look for another funding model. This is clearly the time to say that it’s not working, so let’s change it.”
Cr Alethea Gulvin said she supported the list.
“Hopefully something comes out of the rates strategy and we finds solution,” she said.
“The amount of rates that some have to pay is ridiculous.”
Cr John Robinson said it was important that the council advocated for the total roofing of the Horsham Regional Livestock Exchange.
Cr Les Power endorsed the list and the comments of his fellow councillors.
“It’s important that we (put pressure on) those state and federal governments regarding the rates strategy,” he said.
“We are a rural city and don’t seem to draw a lot of funding form both governments.”
The council’s chief executive Sunil Bhalla said priorities were developed based on input from the community, service providers and industry representatives.
"Over the next three months, the council will be in a position to advocate for priority projects and services to be funded by the post-election government," he said.
"Another key consideration has been to focus on important council projects that are ready to proceed if funding becomes available.
"We anticipate that these priorities help the government, elected representatives, election candidates, government departments and service providers to better understand the critical needs our community is facing and to ensure our service and infrastructure investment needs are supported now and in the future."