The Nationals leader and Member for Murray Plains has demanded Transport Minister Ben Carroll immediately intervene; on behalf of the Lake Boga community; to enable their silo art project to go ahead.
Mr Walsh used Parliament this week to deliver a stinging attack on V/Line’s refusal to reach a compromise with the community group and this valuable local tourism project.
He said if the project does go ahead it will become an important destination as part of Victoria’s silo art trail.
“V/Line is currently refusing the Lake Boga community access to paint their silo art on the eastern or highway side of the silo; where it has maximum exposure and will be easily seen by travellers,” Mr Walsh explained.
“On the highway side there is also a large, open, unused parcel of public land that is available to pull off the highway, especially for people with caravans, and view the silo art,” he said.
“This positioning would complement; and increase visitation to; the other major tourist attraction in Lake Boga, the Catalina Flying Boat Museum.
“But V/Line is trying to force the Lake Boga community to put its silo art on the western side of the silo complex, where it won’t be visible to passing travellers and there is no parking for viewing or photographing the silo art.”
Instead, Mr Walsh said V/Line is hiding behind a safety excuse in rejecting every approach to be able to paint on the east side.
He said only two passenger trains use this track on a daily basis – the Melbourne to Swan Hill goes through Lake Boga at 12.12pm and 10.38pm. The Swan Hill to Melbourne goes through at 7.06am and 1.47pm.
“And yet the only solution V/Line has for painting to go ahead on the east side is to provide a ‘train spotter’ who, for a mere $1300 a day, will leap to his feet four times and shout ‘train’.
“Are they really serious about that?
“As the project is expected to take about 30 days to complete, that’s a grand total of $39,000 – which makes the whole thing immediately unviable.
“Regional Victoria needs every boost it can get, even more so for the smaller communities; and I would have thought any government would be doing everything it can to help.
“Here is a go-ahead local group trying to do something to benefit their community, and by extension, the state, and yet once again are running into nothing but roadblocks and disinterest.”