Nationals Member for Euroa Annabelle Cleeland has called on the Allan Labor Government to step up and invest in North East Victoria’s proud rail tourism industry.
Speaking in Parliament last week, Ms Cleeland sought action from the Minister for Public and Active Transport to ensure the industry had the support to establish heritage rail tourism throughout the North East.
“Rail tourism is an important industry in my region, but it is sadly regularly overlooked for much needed funding from this Government,” Ms Cleeland said.
“With a lack of recurrent funding for Heritage Victoria, several rail tourism opportunities in my region are being ignored.”
As it stands, several projects in the region require infrastructure investments that will allow the industry an opportunity to thrive.
“I have asked the Minister to support our region to allow passenger trains on the current Yarrawonga freight line, to attract passengers to journey from Violet Town market, Benalla art precinct through our beautiful silo art towns,” Ms Cleeland said.
“We have established accommodation and towns anticipating a tourism boom – this could be the platform that does that.”
With the region boasting a proud rail history thanks to the North East Train Line, classic locomotives, and historic train stations, the funding to allow for more tours on vintage trains would open more tourism opportunities for local towns.
“A tourist rail on the existing line between Benalla and Yarrawonga could take passengers through a half dozen local towns that would benefit in new trade,” Ms Cleeland said.
“We are talking Goorambat, Devenish, Saint James, Tungamah and more.
“The plans and infrastructure are there, this project just needs support from the State government to go ahead.”
During the speech in Parliament, Ms Cleeland shared the joy she has seen at railway related events in the community and the benefits they provide the local community.
“I have been lucky enough to attend events right across the Euroa electorate and see firsthand what benefits a properly funded rail tourism industry could provide.
“From events at Violet Town’s Southern Aurora Memorial to the 150th Anniversary of the North East Train Line, I have met some incredible people doing an amazing job in preserving an important part of our local history.
“On top of that, charters and tourism trips upon vintage trains continue to draw amazing crowds of eager train enthusiasts.
“You will not meet a group of more passionate people than those involved with our railways.”