Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Shepparton railroaded... again

Shepparton has been forgotten in a pair of public transport announcements that will benefit almost every other part of Victoria.

JARROD WHITTAKER March 27, 2014 4:53am

Speaking: Jeanette Page at a forum discussing Shepparton's rail services.

Victorian Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder has this week announced $117million in public transport spending, none of which will flow to Shepparton.

On Monday, Mr Mulder announced an extra $17million for an additional VLocity train, as part of an order for extra rolling stock for Traralgon, Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo.

It was followed by yesterday’s announcement of $100million for cheaper metropolitan trains and free trams in Melbourne’s central business district.

Yesterday’s announcement came as about 200 Goulburn Valley residents met in Shepparton to vent concerns about the state of the region’s rail services.

Shepparton has three daily return trains to Melbourne, while Bendigo has 18 and Ballarat 16.

Yesterday’s forum was organised as part of the Make Shepparton Greater campaign, which is pushing for five daily return services for the region.

City of Greater Shepparton Mayor Jenny Houlihan said the announcements meant residents were entitled to be ‘‘disgusted’’ and ‘‘angry’’.

‘‘It’s very unfortunate when the government puts out plans such as that, which obviously have a quite significant amount of funds going into it, that there isn’t a view that all Victorians should share in these benefits,’’ Cr Houlihan said.

‘‘We all have the rights to equal opportunity and equal services in Victoria.’’

Shepparton community member Jeanette Page attended yesterday’s forum.

She left questioning the point of it following yesterday’s funding announcement.

‘‘We know they’re in election mode, we know they’ve been spending $100million,’’ Ms Page said.

‘‘But what do we get for it here in Shepparton?’’

‘‘We needed the minister, we needed the premier — if that could ever happen and that would be fantastic.’’

The News attempted to contact Mr Mulder’s office for a response, but did not receive a response before going to print.

Mr Mulder last visited Shepparton in October 2011 to discuss the region’s rail problems.

Cr Houlihan said it was time he returned.

‘‘We thought that we got a point through when Minister Mulder came here the first time,’’ she said. ‘‘Obviously it didn’t have an impact.’’

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