Waiting on the platform: Gee defends delays in transport inquiry

REGIONAL residents have been waiting more than two years for suggested improvements to public transport because of the state and regional development committee’s unusually high workload, according to member for Orange Andrew Gee.

The committee’s inter-regional public transport inquiry was established with Mr Gee at the helm on March 7, 2012.

Since then, the committee has considered more than 150 submissions from around the state and will table its report to NSW Parliament in the near future, according to Mr Gee.

When the inquiry began, Mr Gee said it would look at issues including inconvenient XPT times between Sydney and Orange, poor regional travel timetables, long waiting times and ticketing issues.

He was unable to reveal the report’s recommendations until it was made public, but said it made recommendations relevant to Orange, despite no submissions being received from Orange City Council or any Orange councillors.

“The general manager of Orange City Council [Garry Styles] gave evidence to the committee as part of the Centroc delegation,” he said.

Mr Gee said he was fully supportive of a campaign lead by Dr Peter Bilenkij to link NSW TrainLink coaches from Orange with the Bathurst Bullet daily commuter train and establish a faster service from Lithgow across the mountains to Sydney.

“It makes sense to link the coaches in with the Bathurst Bullet first, as this can then help make the case to have the train service extended,” he said.

“I have been working on this issue long before it was raised by others.”

Mr Gee defended the two-year wait for the final report saying there were no timetables imposed on NSW parliamentary committees and the state and regional development committee had also been conducting an inquiry into downstream gas supply and availability.

“This is an unusually high workload,” he said.

“For the inquiry into inter-regional public transport, the committee consulted widely, took a large number of written submissions, held public hearings and informal meetings with key decision-makers in Sydney and also travelled to numerous parts of NSW.”

clare.colley@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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