SOUTHERN Grampians Shire has voted to advocate for the return of passenger rail to Hamilton by joining forces with up to eight other shires to lobby the State Government.
The motion that the shire continue to push for a feasibility study and business case for passenger rail along with Horsham Rural City was carried despite questions over the “open ended” financial commitment.
Councillor Paul Battista said he was not comfortable making commitments when the final amount had not been settled, with only a $5000 estimate put forward.
Cr Battista also raised concerns that the Southern Grampians Shire’s individual needs might get lost in group negotiations.
Shire futures director Michael McCarthy said the collective advocacy benefits were considerable and Cr Dennis Dawson reminded Cr Battista that council would have a say over costs through the budget process.
Mr McCarthy told the meeting that the shire should join with Horsham because they had been independently working on a similar rail proposal.
Full story in The Spectator on Tuesday, March 25, 2014, or subscribe to our epaper at top of page.