Keep all ideas on the rails

NORTHWEST Rail Alliance presi­dent Christian Mitchell, who resides in Frankston, may well be the one with his fingers in his ears and may also have reading problems.

First, the Murray Basin Rail Project came about after a delegation that I, as mayor, led met with the State Government – a $400 million project that still has not been completed. 

This project also required the input of $200 million from the Federal Government. 

This will provide a standardised line that will allow the efficient transport of freight to our ports.

The first thing we need now is a commitment from the State Government that it will maintain this line at the upgraded standard into the future. As far as I am aware, there is no budget for that at ­present.

When the line is complete and its operational standard locked in, I would support a business case that looked at the costs associated with a passenger service, costing all the options and the ongoing operating costs. 

This needs to be balanced by what effect it will have on funding other needs of the communities along the line. 

Will it mean no new hospitals, no tourism project, no road funding, no new schools because we have had our share of funding in one project? 

The community deserves a chance to make up its mind based on facts that are up to date and any options the State Government might be in a financial position to offer.

As for claims that a passenger train benefits “every” ratepayer, I would ask Mr Mitchell to back that with facts.

And in regard to facts, motorsport does not serve a minority as the benefits bring wealth into a wide sector of the community. Look at the Easter Ski Race, Hattah Desert Race, drag racing, speedway, go karting – they support the ­accommodation industry, fuel industry, motorbike stores, restaurants, wineries, hotels, shopping centres, takeaway food shops, ­coffee shops. 

Need I go on?

I challenge him to read the ­motorsport business plan when it comes out and then make some sensible comments.

I think Mr Mitchell is correct in saying members of our community should consider seriously who they vote for and be guided by what has been accomplished.

Glenn Milne,

Mildura Council candidate

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