Mayor to chair Regional Cities in critical year

Sharon Kemp | Bendigo Weekly | 24-Nov-2017

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A BENDIGO representative will chair a peak regional Victorian board through the 2018 State election.

City of Greater Bendigo mayor Margaret O’Rourke was last night elected for a 12-month term to chair Regional Cities Victoria, on the same day Premier Daniel Andrews unveiled a regional rail strategy that included high-speed links to Geelong and Ballarat, but not to Bendigo.

Public transport minister Jacinta Allan briefed the RCV meeting last night on building an link from Melbourne to Tullarmarine, a project the Labor Party is saying will unlock faster, more frequent rail services to regional Victoria.

In a media statement, Cr O’Rourke said she welcomed the announcement “as an outstanding outcome for regional Victoria”.

“RCV has advocated for airport rail to facilitate fast rail across regional Victoria,” she said.

“Linking the project to the wider V/Line network will provide enormous benefits to both Melbourne and our regions.

“Faster,  more frequent and reliable services will help to manage population pressures on Melbourne and incentivise opportunities for regional living, jobs and much improved housing affordability.

“Airport rail will free up regional rail services across the network and reduce travel times to our cities –it has potential to be a truly transformative project for our state.

“With this project, we are on the cusp of unlocking enormous commercial and economic opportunities for regional Victoria.

“A key priority for RCV has been improving rail infrastructure to enable better connectivity to regional cities.”

The Bendigo Weekly contacted Cr O’Rourke for further comment.

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