18 March 2015
Mr WALSH (Murray Plains) – Improved rail services are a key priority for the people who live in the seat of Murray Plains. In a recent survey by the shires of Campaspe Swan Hill Gannawarra Loddon and Greater Bendigo the overwhelming majority of respondents said they would increase their patronage of rail transport if there were more frequent services. Currently about 50 000 people live along two train lines – the one from Swan Hill to Bendigo and the one from Echuca to Bendigo – and increased services to Bendigo would give them not only the benefit of being linked to more services to Melbourne but also the opportunity to attend specialist medical services in Bendigo at the new hospital which is being built there and which the former coalition government funded. At the moment people often have to travel by car because the wait to come home on the train is too long.
More importantly increased rail services would help improve the educational outcomes for the region because people would have the opportunity to attend lectures at La Trobe University in Bendigo and come home on the train. It would reduce the costs for families sending their kids away to university because kids would be able to live at home and travel to Bendigo for those lectures.
Going back to the election the coalition’s policy to increase rail services included funding of $178 million. I call on the Premier to fulfil his commitment to govern for all Victoria and fund a rail package that gives increased services to the people of Swan Hill and Echuca.