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Media Release

10/05/2000

Fast Train Too Slow for Benalla

The Public Transport Users Association has written to all candidates in the forthcoming Benalla Byelection asking for commitments to much improved public transport to the North East region of Victoria.

John McPherson, PTUA Vice President comments on the response: "Only the Greens candidate Janet McKenzie and Maurie Smith, an independent candidate from SeyMour have been in touch with the PTUA directly.  Mr Smith believes more long distance trains should stop at Seymour. Ms McKenzie believes far more comprehensive public transport is needed in country Victoria to protect the environment and improve tourism. The Minister for Transport respondend for the ALP candidate noting present train and bus services, which the PTUA believes are of an unacceptably low standard, and he mentioned a current study for upgrading the north-east rail line but gave no commitments to inclusion in the 'fast train' project that is assessing four other passenger main rail lines in the state."

"The PTUA believes that integrated, fast and frequent public transport for the whole N.E. region is essential to retain population and industry. Tourism also requires the sort of boost that fast and frequent trains and connecting buses will bring. Trains every hour should run north to Albury/Wodonga and to Shepparton and Cobram as the backbone of the system. Fast trains from Benalla can reach Melbourne in 1.5 hours and Albury-Melbourne could take 2.5 hours, both much faster than driving, even on the freeway!" Mr McPherson continued. "The people of Yarrawonga have recently sent a petition of 800 signatures to State Parliament calling for return of their train to Benalla with a Melbourne connection" he noted.

"The North East region of Victoria has a strategic location on the main interstate route to N.S.W. and Sydney and the Newell route to Queensland. As well as roads the region can increase its prosperity with strong, viable and fast rail links for passengers and freight to north and south." Mr McPherson concluded.

Contacts:
PTUA Office 9650 7898

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Last Modified: 10 May 2000