PASSIONATE ADVOCATE FOR REGION TO ADVISE ON TRANSPORT ISSUES , Shepparton News
Committee for Greater Shepparton and North East Water chairman David McKenzie has been appointed to represent the Shepparton region on the Regional Transport Advisory Group. Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes is co-chair of the group, which will drive consultation with local communities and provide recommendations to the Andrews Government during the development of Victorias first Regional Network Development Plan. The formation of RTAG was announced on the day Shepparton rail users staged a pyjama-clad protest on the steps of Victorian Parliament, calling for improved services to the region. Ms Symes said Mr McKenzie had extensive experience in senior management and executive roles in local organisations, including Goulburn Valley Water, and on the boards of management of Shepparton Retirement Villages and Opteon Property Group, with several offices across northern Victoria. Mr McKenzie is a passionate advocate for Shepparton and will provide a strong local voice during the development of the Regional Network Development plan, Ms Symes said. Im looking forward to working with Mr McKenzie to listen to the local community and provide better public transport for Shepparton and surrounding communities. The group will be cochaired by Gippsland Regional Development Committee chairman Richard Elkington. The Andrews Government also released the terms of reference for development of a Regional Network Development Plan, which aims to move Victoria away from adhoc service improvements and toward a more coordinated regional public transport network, where train and bus services work together to get people to their destinations. The plan will consider infrastructure upgrades, network extension and rolling stock, including next generation high capacity regional trains to cater for peak demand. Consultation will start on June 23 with stakeholder workshops in Gippsland; workshops in Northern Victoria are scheduled for August. Its wonderful that public transport in the Shepparton region will finally get the attention it deserves, with a short, medium and long-term strategy for better services, Ms Symes said. State Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed said while the strategy would look into longer-term needs, the community had made it clear that improved rail services were needed now. It was good enough to spend all that money on other cities without a plan; our absolute desire is that out of this there will not just be a plan but a firm budget to deliver on the demands of the All Aboard campaign, she said. We will keep the campaign going.