STATE Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian looked relieved when she stepped off the 11:52 CountryLink XPT service from Sydney on time at Orange Railway Station ahead of last night’s transport forum.
But even the minister couldn’t make the rail service faster than travel by car, with Roads Minister Duncan Gay joking with the media about beating his colleague to Orange.
“With the plans Gladys has ahead I’ll have a bit of a challenge in the future,” he said.
Along with Mr Gay, Ms Berejiklian travelled to Orange for the public forum, one of 14 across the state, giving communities the chance to have their say on the government’s transport master plan.
“It’s great to experience what we ask commuters to do when they travel to the central west by train,” she said.
“People want connections to improve ... and they want to make sure we’ve listened.”
Ms Berejiklian said the integrated plan, combining roads, freight and rail, was a first for the state and desperately needed.
She denied the plan was Sydney-centric, saying the government had made a really big effort to come out to the regions.
“This is not about day-to-day services, this process is about a long-term transport vision,” she said.
“It’s not just about resources of government it’s also about how do we work more closely with the private sector and how the state government can work more closely with local government.”
When asked if state government funding would be forthcoming for Orange City Council’s proposed Orange Airport expansion Ms Berejiklian said she was unaware of the plans.
“I haven’t been given any advice about that,” she said.
“If there’s any such proposals we’ll look at them.”