Representing a number of regional communities, the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail together with the Mitchell Bicycle Users Group call upon the Victorian State Government to prioritise future funding for the Wallan to Heathcote Rail Trail project, in accordance with Bicycle Network’s submission to the State Government’s 2022/23 budget.
2.1 Extend the O’Keefe Rail Trail (Submission extract from pages 9&10)
Bicycle Network recommends a funding commitment to extend Central Victoria’s O’Keefe Rail Trail from Heathcote to Wallan…….
A 2017 feasibility study outlined the strategic merit for advancing the WHRT project, concluding that the economic benefits ($23.1 million) outweigh the costs…….
Bicycle Network views the O’Keefe Rail Trail extension as an exciting enhancement of the O’Keefe Rail Trail which will pave the way for a number of exciting opportunities:…..
We strongly encourage the Victorian Government to support local businesses, historical societies, and the general bike riding public by providing the $17.18 million in funding to complete the extension.
While unfortunately the approved State Government’s 2022/23 budget did not included funding for this project, the President of the Friends of the Bendigo Kilmore Rail Trail Colin Scott said “It’s time for more investment in developing cycling and walking infrastructure in regional areas. Such investment will assist small tourist related businesses to employ and stimulate local economies.”
In 2021, the Victorian Government took action to support regional sectors by launching the ‘Stay Close, Go Further’ campaign, encouraging Victorians to get out and explore their backyard. “Rail trails do just this!” Mr Scott said, “Offering Victorians and visitors the chance to explore and spend in regional communities, whilst getting active.” With significant community support for ongoing investment in regional rail trails, the State government is encouraged to place such development as a priority in future budgets.
With Victoria hosting the 2026 Commonwealth Games, and Bendigo being one of four regional hubs selected to hold a number of the events, such a proposed trail link between Craigieburn and Heathcote (and Bendigo) would open up a high value regional trail network of international significance to compliment the Melbourne metro trail network. This web of trails would also provide regional active links with the public transport hubs of Southern Cross Station and the Melbourne Airport.
Like to have your input into regional trail developments for future State budget allocations, as well as investment in the 2026 Commonwealth Games to provide lasting infrastructure legacies beyond the competition period for regional Victoria? Then you could contact and email –
Minister for Commonwealth Games Delivery, Hon. Jacinta Allan