Federal Member for Indi Cathy McGowan hosted a public discussion at Benalla train station with V/Line and Australian Rail Track Corporation representatives.MONIQUE FREER December 19, 2013 4:10am
Talking trains: Federal Member for Indi Cathy McGowan and Australian Rail Track Corporation chief executive John Fullerton.
Debate over Benalla’s train network was as hot as the temperatures on Monday when Federal Member for Indi Cathy McGowan joined V/Line and Australian Rail Track Corporation representatives at Benalla station.
Ms McGowan hosted the community event to give Indi residents the opportunity to discuss the works currently under way to improve the Melbourne to Sydney train line.
‘‘One of the big issues has been communication, and (Monday) was about communicating,’’ Ms McGowan said.
‘‘It was about getting the right people talking to each other, which I think is a really important thing.’’
More than 90 people attended the public meeting, putting V/Line and ARTC representatives under the pump.
Issues such as the absence of a Glenrowan train station, punctuality and reliability statistics, the need to upgrade the 1950s-era carriages and the need for more reliable and accessible services for those with a disability were all raised.
‘‘Getting feedback is always very important when we sit down and make decisions,’’ ARTC chief executive John Fullerton said.
‘‘I certainly enjoyed coming out here, people have been open and frank and honest with me and that’s important.’’
ARTC commenced the five-year $134
‘‘I think the key thing is to make sure we continuously improve — and we have improved to date,’’ he said.
‘‘We’ve got works planned in the Christmas shut-down that relate to the regional rail works.
‘‘We’re taking advantage of that maintenance window and further works we’ve got planned for the first half of next year.’’
Voice for Indi president Alana Johnson said the meetings were beneficial to the public, but would only be effective if action was taken.
‘‘While we commend V/Line and ARTC for having these public meetings, we need to hold them to account for acting on the issues people have raised,’’ Ms Johnson said.
‘‘V/Line plans to establish a Customer Reference Group to ensure communication and consultation about service improvements but the effectiveness of this group will depend on how much clout the reference group has within V/Line and the relationship between the reference group members and their community.’’
The public meeting was one in a series of forums held in Indi. The Euroa community gathered at the Euroa train station on Monday, while Wangaratta and Wodonga residents had the opportunity to voice their opinions at separate meetings on Tuesday.
State Member for Benalla Bill Sykes also attended the Euroa and Benalla forums, and said it was good to see representatives from V/Line and ARTC hearing constituents’ concerns.
‘‘I and my Liberal National Party colleagues will continue to hold ARTC and V/Line to account until we get reliable, comfortable train services,’’ Dr Sykes said.
Voluntary work beckons for David Gawne after deciding to retire as a paramedic.
UPDATE: NSW Police have confirmed the body of a Warrnambool woman, 61, who went missing in the Murray River yesterday has been found.
Sixty years ago, March 5, 1954, was a red-letter day for Tatura, when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the first reigning monarch to visit, came to town.
Echuca and Kyabram Fire Brigade will play in today's Goulburn Murray Cricket preliminary final.
Ritchie Aschenbrenner is exhibiting six years worth of paintings, covering a range of styles.
Kyabram's 69th annual rodeo takes place this Friday.
What was expected to be a long wait was anything but as young Seymour man gets heart transplant.
NSW signs historic Murray-Darling Basin Plan agreement.
The History of Tooborac group will be keen for gather more information about its photo collection when the publlic comes to look through its archives.
Three Cobram firefighters have returned safe from the toxic Morwell mine fire in Gippsland.
Gun Rams forward Ash Morris has signed with South Bendigo for the 2014 season and one day hopes to play VFL
Some VIP exotic animals spent the night at Shepparton Regional Saleyards on Wednesday night.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.