Szakal says Echuca’s rail plan is on track

May 20, 2017

Committee for Echuca-Moama chief executive Martin Szakal with politicians Fiona Nash and Damian Drum. Photo: submitted

COMMITTEE for Echuca Moama chief executive Martin Szakal said the ‘‘case was not closed’’ when it comes to the Federal Government’s funding shortfall for the $91 million Echuca-Bendigo line upgrade.

Mr Szakal met with Regional Development Federal Minister Senator Fiona Nash at Federal Member for Murray Damian Drum’s office in Shepparton on Friday to discuss a range of topics impacting Echuca-Moama.

‘‘On this matter (the rail) I can report that the case is not closed and the Federal Government is very informed to the level of local concern surrounding this project. To this end we will see what unfolds this week,’’ he said.

The Victorian Government announced the upgrade the week before last as part of a $1.45 billion rail package for regional Victoria, but that was dependent on the Federal Government agreeing to release it.

Last week Canberra allocated $1 billion in infrastructure spending for Victoria, significantly short of the required figure.

Mr Szakal also spoke about the homelessness data project and NBN disruptions.

‘‘Regarding our homelessness data project kindly funded by the Moama Bowling Club and now in its final stage with Monash University, I informed the minister that we have identified significant problems with data collection and management and we believe this is a problem nationwide, and informed that we have also identified a possible solution,’’ he said.

‘‘This will be pushed up to government when the report becomes final.

‘‘On NBN and disruptions to local business and the effects on business confidence and business attraction, the Minister concurred that no business should be affected and that we should relay all problems direct to Damian Drum’s office for expedited solutions through Telstra and others. I encourage all local businesses affected to make their cases known.’’

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