Opinion

Train service unlikely with current attitudes

By Deniliquin Pastoral Times

There is merit in the suggestion from Tom Weyrich to extend railway passenger services from Echuca to Deniliquin ( Pastoral Times, Friday January 4).

The hopeful One Nation candidate in the upcoming NSW election quite rightly says it would complement the upgrade to the Echuca-Bendigo rail line which, when completed, will increase speed capabilities to a potential 140km/h, with a subsequent boost in patronage.

There are many reasons why passenger services would be beneficial for Deniliquin and district.

Firstly, of course, it would provide access to our region for more people. Instead of travelling by car or limited bus services from Melbourne or regional Victorian centres, the train would provide another option.

Train travel is undergoing a renaissance in Victoria — the more its state government invests in train services the more popular they are becoming.

This takes cars off the road, reducing the risk of vehicle accidents, not to mention the reduced wear and tear on road surfaces.

In our region the accident risk is much higher, especially between Moama and Deniliquin where kangaroos are in plague proportions and we have a city-based government that is not prepared to take any action to reduce this danger.

Cr Weyrich says the NSW Government should follow the lead of its Victorian counterpart and invest in train infrastructure so we can take advantage of its many benefits.

While we agree, we believe there is virtually zero chance of it happening, though we suggest the very least the NSW Government could do is commission a feasibility study.

Perhaps if Cr Weyrich is elected as our parliamentary representative for this region he will have greater influence over our future.

At present, with representation by The Nationals through Austin Evans, we do not appear to have an effective voice in Sydney.

The important issues that need to be developed in the interests of our prosperity continue to be ignored.

It is unlikely that improved train services will be any different.

We are at a loss to determine what needs to happen for The Nationals to wake up that they either lift their game, or face the very real risk of being abandoned — like they have abandoned this region — when we go to the polls in March.

Perhaps their latest internal polling, which suggests they will win the seat of Murray in a canter, has led to the party putting our region back on the ‘‘we’ll win it, so why bother?’’ list.

Our community cannot afford this attitude. We must stand up and be counted, and never has there been a more important time than the next three months.

Being continually taken for granted by The Nationals is no longer acceptable, nor it is an option this community should tolerate.

Whether it is trains or a host of other important issues affecting our region, we continue to be ignored.

Unless this is quickly rectified, the Pastoral Times will be campaigning heavily in coming months for change.