Public Transport | March 11, 2020

Final call for The Overland

The Nationals Member for Lowan Emma Kealy MP has spoken in Parliament, calling on the Andrews Labor Government to reconsider its decision to cut funding for The Overland rail service from March 31.

Ms Kealy raised the issue again after continuing to be contacted by a large number of local residents deeply distressed about the imminent end of The Overland and the overall demise of passenger rail services in western Victoria.

“This is a very, very important public transport service for these people and I am proud to stand with local residents who have done a fabulous job in advocating and lobbying to retain The Overland,” Ms Kealy said.

“Not only does passenger rail impact on our ability to attract and retain staff, it is also an important service to make sure local residents can get to their medical appointments and connect with other communities, whether that is travelling through to Horsham or further on to Ballarat and Melbourne.

“The Overland has been a railway icon for more than 130 years, but its history and the important role it plays in servicing today’s passengers seem to mean little to Labor.”

Ms Kealy, together with her local government counterparts, local organisations and individuals, has been continually calling for a firm commitment to return regular passenger rail services to Horsham and Hamilton.

The Nationals committed to this during the 2018 election campaign, but Labor has continually refused to recognise just how essential these services are.

“Daniel Andrews is isolating people from critical services if Labor does not drastically improve its handling of public transport issues,” Ms Kealy said.

“With the imminent demise of The Overland, it has never been more important that Labor matches The Nationals’ commitment and returns passenger rail to Horsham and Hamilton.

“I urge the government to heed the calls from our region to fund the public transport services our people need and deserve.”

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