Jennifer Podesta listens to Bill Traill at a meeting on rail services yesterday. Picture: JOHN RUSSELLLABOR candidate for Benambra Jennifer Podesta expects to collect thousands of signatures for her North East Rail Service petition launched yesterday.
Ms Podesta said the disruption to the rail services between Southern Cross, Melbourne and Albury-Wodonga was the No.1 issue raised by those in her electorate.
“There seems to be a lot of buck-passing between the state and federal government and a denial of res- ponsibility,” she said.
The petition will be tabled in Parliament after the November 29 election and will call on the transport minister of the day to instruct the Australian Rail Track Corporation to provide a definitive end date for the completion of the North East Track Revitalisation Project and the Ballast Rehabilitation Program.
“This (track upgrade) work originated as a project that suggested a finish date and now it’s an ongoing program,” Ms Podesta said.
“We need to have a confirmed date so this doesn’t happen again.
“We also need a commitment from the state government to upgrade the rolling stock to the VLocity trains that run on other regional lines across the state.”
Ms Podesta, who travels frequently on the train herself, will be asking commuters to put their name to the petition.
Six signatures were collected during Ms Podesta’s first “Tuesday chats” session yesterday.
Each Tuesday during this month election issues will be discussed from 12.30pm at Ms Podesta’s new campaign office at Beechworth Road, Wodonga.
Bill Traill, convenor of the Border Rail Action Group, attended yesterday’s chat and showed his support of the petition.
“We need to keep the pressure on,” he said.
The Border Rail Action Group will host a public meeting to discuss the rail service on October 22.
The meeting at Elgin’s Wodonga will be held between 5.30pm and 7pm.
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