Rail return an election issue

Members of the South and West Gippsland Transport Group Brian Hess and Max Semken pressed their case for council support for a major campaign for betterail-return-an-election-issuer public transport services in the run up to the 2014 election. 

THE return of rail services to South Gippsland is expected to get a significant boost in the run up to the 2014 State Elections with the South Gippsland Shire Council set to vote this Wednesday in support of a campaign to lobby all political parties.
In so doing the shire council will be responding to the untiring efforts of the West Gippsland Transport Group which has been seeking the return of rail services since they stopped running in 1992.
Last week, speaking in support of the political campaign, two members of the transport group, Brian Hess and Max Semken, claimed this area was one of the few urban fringe areas in Victoria not to benefit from a transport upgrade in recent years.
“The area is growing and will continue to grow,” said Brian Hess who is also on the Korumburra Business Association.
“But one of the essential parts is that you have to have adequate transport links and we haven’t got them.
“Monash congestion is a major inhibiting factor. They just can’t just keep adding lanes and government needs to be developing a plan for this area or it will get a lot worse.”
Mr Hess said trucks were an increasing problem on the road and it was getting to the point, on the Monash, that the dairy industry wouldn’t be able to get their produce away in a timely manner.
He said a rail freight service was needed and with buses not the answer going forward, a passenger rail service as well.
At its council meeting next week, the council will consider the following motion:
* Assisting the South and West Gippsland Transport Group to develop an advocacy campaign seeking the commitment of all political parties to fund an integrated transport strategy for South-West Gippsland
* Write to the other shires in the area, including Bass Coast and Cardinia seeking their support, and
* Assist in arranging deputations for the transport group with MPs in the lead up to the 2014 State Election.
As well as an improvement to services to Melbourne, the transport group is also seeking better connection between Traralgon and Wonthaggi and between Foster and Sale for access to medical and other services.
Cr Jeanette Harding backed the call and said she would be raising the issue at the next South East Australia Transport Strategy group meeting, also highlighting the problems with the South Gippsland Highway.
Cr Mohya Davies said it had always amazed her that there was no regular transport service to Wilsons Prom and it was something she hoped would be included in a future strategy.
Cr McEwen agreed with the assessment of the congestion on the Monash Freeway saying it was virtually peak hour on that route all of the time and something had to be done to reduce the pressure.

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