The Shepparton Passenger Services Working Group has been named and is ready to assess the region's rail passenger issues.JENNA BISHOP July 31, 2014 3:55am
The Shepparton Passenger Services Working Group is ready to meet to assess the region's rail passenger issues.
Shepparton’s campaign for better passenger rail services will be one step closer when a newly-formed reference group meets for the first time next month.
The 14-member group was finalised this week after Victorian Deputy Premier Peter Ryan established it on July 3.
Group chairwoman State Member for Shepparton Jeanette Powell said the group would meet for the first time on August 14 to discuss present services and the possibility of additional services.
It plans to meet fortnightly in time to present its recommendations to the Victorian Government in October, a month before the state election.
‘‘First on our agenda will be to discuss what the community wants, what timetables and services we have. We’ll also discuss what the requirements are for extra services, what our options are, as well as opportunities and impediments,’’ Mrs Powell said.
Representatives include Greater Shepparton City Council chief executive Gavin Cator, Committee for Greater Shepparton chief executive Matt Nelson, Shepparton RAILS chairman Michael Welk, Tourism Greater Shepparton president Cheryl Hammer, Greater Shepparton Disability Advisory Committee member Ron Harrison, plus Shepparton people with an interest in transport services.
Mrs Powell said members were chosen for their ability to represent a broad cross-section of the community and ideas.
Representatives from V/Line, Public Transport Victoria and the Department of Transport will also sit on the committee.
Mr Welk said the group was pleased to be representing voices in the community. He said the group would be campaigning for extra services for Shepparton passengers and for improvements to services, including access for elderly passengers.
‘‘At the beginning, we thought that five (services) would be appropriate, but depending on demand we should have up to 12. It would be close to the services in Bendigo and Ballarat,’’ he said.
Mrs Powell said the group would use data and opinions collected in community transport surveys, including a recent one conducted as part of the Make Shepparton Greater campaign.
She said it would also speak with other community groups to find out how present services affected them and how improved services would benefit them.
‘‘We’ll also be calling for submissions from the community at a later date,’’ she said.
A spokesperson for Victorian Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder said the government was committed to improving train services across the state, including Shepparton.
‘‘We understand that Shepparton is growing and the community want an improved rail service,’’ the spokesperson said.
‘‘We have started to consult with the community through the Shepparton Passenger Services Working Group led by Jeanette Powell.’’
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