Have your say on passenger transport services in north west Victoria

Published on 20 May 2022

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A comprehensive study into regional passenger transport needs in north west Victoria has identified a number of key factors impacting communities’ ability to connect to capital cities, and identified priority actions to address these obstacles.

The draft North West Victoria Regional Passenger Transport Study, now released for public comment, encompasses five regional Councils throughout the north west regional corridor, including Mildura Rural City Council, Buloke, Northern Grampians, Yarriambiack and Central Goldfields Shires.

The study has identified five key factors contributing to north west Victoria’s ‘transport isolation’:

  • no passenger rail services
  • limited inter and intra-regional bus services
  • expensive air services
  • high demand for community transport
  • long wait times for taxi services.

The study found these factors were contributing to the following challenges for the five local government areas, including: 

  • limited access to services, including health
  • increased transport costs
  • limited education choices and employment
  • a poor demographic profile
  • reduced regional competitiveness.

It identified 19 initiatives to improve regional passenger transport, including air travel, bus travel, cross-border opportunities and Rideshare services.  

Mildura Mayor Liam Wood said the study was connected to one of the four Mildura Future Ready projects identified in 2017 – for Councils to advocate for the return of passenger rail services.

“The initial four Mildura Future Ready projects were selected based on a combination of what our community were telling us, and projects that would provide the biggest economic and social benefit for our region,” Cr Wood said.

“Returning passenger rail services was a strong theme that came through at the time in our community, which is why it was included as a project we should advocate for as part of improving regional transport connections to the rest of the State.

“This study is an important step to firstly gain a thorough understanding of the future regional passenger transport needs for north west Victorian communities over the next 20-30 years, and more broadly, what we need to do to ensure our advocacy reaches the right audience, to really affect change.”

The Project Reference Group identified the following eight priority actions for further investigation:

Mildura passenger rail service
To provide a more efficient and comfortable service for travel between Mildura and other regional towns and the capital city.

Regional passenger transport connections
Improving regional transport services, looking at bus and coach services between Mildura and Melbourne, taking in timing, scheduling, location and quality of transport connections.

Local town bus services
Examination of bus and coach services within respective townships, looking at timing of services, the number of services and adjustment of routes to better serve residents.

On-demand transport
Provision of more and broader ‘on-demand’ transport services, including community transport options, such as SunAssist.

Rideshare services
Examine introduction of potential rideshare services such as Uber, Ola or private operators.

Station and bus stop upgrades
Examine options to improve amenity, shelter, access and safety at regional bus stations for passengers.

Education about transport options
Community education to highlight alternative transport options, other than just using private vehicles.

Technology and innovation (including autonomous bus trial)
Investigate use of advances in technology to provide more passenger transport options.

Residents are encouraged to provide their feedback to the study, which must be submitted by Friday 17 June. 

Copies are available to view online at www.mildura.vic.gov.au/HaveYourSay or at Council’s Deakin Avenue, Madden Avenue and Ouyen Service Centres.

Written submissions on the draft Study can be emailed to mrcc@mildura.vic.gov.au  or sent to Mildura Rural City Council, PO Box 105, Mildura Vic 3502.

For more information contact Manager Leisure and Cultural Services Kate Henschke on 03 5018 8100.



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