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Call for action on underpass

Alleged sexual attack concerns Mitchell Shire councillors.

CHALPAT SONTI June 19, 2014 3:06am

The scene of an alleged sexual assault in Seymour needs urgent action to make it safer, Mitchell Shire councillors heard last week.

Cr Bill Melbourne successfully moved a motion for the council to write to V/Line, VicTrack and the Australian Rail Track Corporation requesting ‘‘urgent action be taken to rectify the defects in there which may have contributed to (an alleged) sexual assault’’.

It came after the incident allegedly occurred in the Victoria St underpass in late-May. A 16-year-old girl claims to have been assaulted while walking through the underpass about 3.50pm.

Cr Melbourne said both internal and external lighting wasn’t working in the underpass and vicinity and additional external lighting would also be beneficial.

He also called for CCTV in the area to ‘‘capture persons entering and exiting’’.

‘‘This didn’t happen in the dark,’’ he said.

‘‘I really can’t find an appropriate word for how shocked I was that this has happened in a country town. As a kid I walked through that tunnel to go to St Mary’s College ... that poor girl is now going to be burdened with that for the rest of her life.’’

Cr Des Callaghan, who also used the underpass frequently in his youth, said the tunnel was ‘‘an absolute disgrace’’.

‘‘Really VicTrack and the other mob ought to be held accountable,’’ he said.

‘‘I wonder if that letter should be forwarded on to anyone else with higher authority.’’ That caused an amendment to be successfully moved that the letter also go to Transport Minister Terry Mulder.

The underpass was last in the spotlight in 2011, when Hans Bothe’s concerns were highlighted in the Telegraph. VicTrack then set about cleaning it up.

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