District community speaks out on trains

Colac Otway Shire mayor Frank Buchanan, Public Transport Victoria executive director corporate services Graham Fryer, Cr Brian Crook and Cr Stephen Hart at Public Transport Victoria’s Colac community consultation forum.

Colac Otway Shire mayor Frank Buchanan, Public Transport Victoria executive director corporate services Graham Fryer, Cr Brian Crook and Cr Stephen Hart at Public Transport Victoria’s Colac community consultation forum.

COLAC OTWAY Shire Councillor Brian Crook says Colac and district residents have “well and truly spoken” on the city’s public transport needs.

Cr Crook, a strong public transport advocate, was one of 60 residents and political figures present at Public Transport Victoria’s community consultation forum at Colac Community Library on Wednesday night.

The forum identified eight key issues which Colac and district residents would like to benefit from in the State Government’s forthcoming Regional Network Development Plan.

They include ticketing, freight, scheduling and frequency, express services, facilities and amenities, creating a Colac transport hub, rolling stock, and coverage and connectivity.

Cr Crook said he was pleased with the amount of community support and ideas generated at the forum.

“The proof now will be in the pudding in terms of Public Transport Victoria listening to us,” he said.

“I don’t doubt they’ve heard Colac loud and clear, but now we need to see some action to support the passion and the needs of the Colac people.”

Public Transport Victoria executive director corporate services Graham Fryer said the Colac forum received a turnout “at least as big as many of the bigger regional centres”.

“There’s clearly a passion for the subject matter so people obviously want public transport in Colac and it’s terrific to see them out here.”

The forum was one of 36 which PTV has organised across the state to gain input for the Regional Network Development Plan.

Mr Fryer said PTV would assess the feedback it received at the forums and present a business case to Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan.

“We will triage the issues into things we can fix now; things that are more medium term of 12 to 24 months, and then things that are much longer like major infrastructure works,” he said.

“I would hope that next year on some of the easier issues, you will start to see some action.”

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