Advocacy Priorities

Advocating for Horsham Rural City

A key role of Horsham Rural City Council is to advocate to government and private sector investors for support for priority projects. This advocacy work helps Council achieve its vision for a vibrant, inclusive community. Large, transformational projects cannot be solely funded through Council’s revenue streams and require significant investment, particularly by State and Federal Governments.

Council has a suite of projects that it is actively advocating for, from ‘shovel ready’ through to those in early stages of planning. These projects represent Council’s long term planning in action, recognizing what Horsham Rural City needs now and into the future.

Our vision

We want to make Horsham Rural City a vibrant, inclusive community to live, work, play and invest. We aim to do this by developing responsive services and quality infrastructure that enhance our economy, livability and natural environment. Horsham is the heart of the Wimmera and supports the region’s economy and communities. A strong and vibrant regional city will support a strong and vibrant Wimmera region. The success of the City is linked to its rich history, strong community and resilient economy.

The major projects outlined focus on improvements which support livability and economic resilience. Each project will promote the attraction and retention of population and investment preserving the City’s critical role for Horsham and the Wimmera region.

Click the project titles below to view current advocacy priorities

City Oval Sawyer Park

In November 2021, Horsham Council approved the City Oval Sawyer Park Concept Plan developed by the project Community Reference Group. The Horsham City Oval and Sawyer Park Redevelopment (Stage 1) is a $12.8million project designed to replace ageing non-compliant existing facilities and install new infrastructure to increase utilisation of Horsham’s Premier Oval and attract regional scale tourism events.

Stage 1 of the project will cost $12.8million and has three components:

a. New community facility and AFL standard sporting change rooms
Replace the existing aging structures on site (40+ years old) and support a range of sports and community uses i.e. AFL football, cricket, community social events, conferencing, regional sporting events. The new facility will support the City Oval’s role as the premier AFL venue in the region. Key components include:

  • community facility, seating up to 200, with accessible amenities, catering and conferencing facilities
  • multi-purpose accessible change rooms, separate umpires change rooms, office and meeting space, first aid/medical room, storage and gym.

b. Enhanced netball facilities including a new netball pavilion and two new netball courts with lighting
Redevelopment of all netball facilities at Horsham City Oval to provide female friendly, compliant, competition standard, safe and accessible facilities.

Key components include:

  • two new netball courts, with supporting shelters and lighting suitable for Wimmera League competition
  • new multi-use pavilion with accessible player and umpire change rooms, medical room, social space and office/administration area

c. Outdoor stage and supporting infrastructure to provide for regional outdoor events and festivals

(Grant funding received in 2022 through the Victorian Regional Tourism Investment Fund – construction to commence in 2023)

  • A new raised and roofed stage located between City Oval and Sawyer Park
  • Contrasting paving across Hocking Street providing improved pedestrian connection between City Oval and Sawyer Park
  • Hocking Street road realignment and enhanced parking
  • Broadcast box and event screen
  • Ticket box and food and beverage facility


Passenger rail to the Wimmera – equity and access

Horsham Rural City Council has requested an updated cost estimate for a shuttle train service running on the standard gauge track between Ararat and Horsham. The new passenger train service will ultimately connect the towns of Horsham, Murtoa, and Stawell with the Ararat to Melbourne broad gauge V/Line services.

In order to connect with the five weekday and three weekend Ararat to Melbourne return V/Line services, the proposed shuttle service would require two 3-car VLocity trains operating at speeds of up to 130km/h on the existing ARTC track.

The major capital commitments for this shuttle service have been identified as:

  • Upgrading level crossings to active crossings to the current standards including boom barriers and flashing lights
  • Procurement of standard gauge VLocity rolling stock
  • Installation of the Train Protection and Warning System into the existing signalling system
  • Upgrades to the existing stations
  • Provision of a train stabling facility at Horsham.


Our community has consistently told us that the return of passenger rail is the highest priority for public transport in the Wimmera region. A passenger rail service will provide fair and equitable access to important health services in Ballarat and Melbourne.




Alternative heavy vehicle route and second river crossing

Horsham lies at the junction of three regional highways: Western Highway (A8), Wimmera Highway and Henty Highway with over 6,000 vehicles per day travelling through the city, including many heavy vehicles.  Council is currently working with Regional Roads Victoria on a Route Feasibility Study that will look for a possible alternate route for trucks that will take them out of Horsham’s Central Activity District.  Any alternate route will require a second bridge over the Wimmera River which is a key priority of Council.

The Route Feasibility Study will be completed by the end of 2022.


Safety and amenity benefits within the Horsham urban area for residents and businesses, providing safer access to the retail/entertainment precinct. Freight efficiency for heavy vehicles currently negotiating multiple traffic lights through central Horsham.



Why is a feasibility study being done?

The feasibility study will investigate possible alternative truck routes within and around the existing arterial road network of Horsham.

The study will see Horsham Rural City Council and Regional Roads Victoria collaborate with relevant State Government agencies and other stakeholders, including the local Registered Aboriginal Party, to determine the most appropriate route for redirecting ‘through’ traffic from the Western, Wimmera and Henty Highways from Horsham’s CAD.


Horsham Railway Corridor – creating better connections

he development and beautification of the Horsham Rail Corridor is a priority project of Council. We continue to work with Vic Track focussed on the process and timelines for the remediation of contaminated land and transfer of land to Council for future development of the area.

Stage 1 – new recreational and open spaces

  • development of around six hectares of passive open space
  • creation of an east-west pedestrian/cycling spine
  • improved car parking provision at the new Silo art project


The development of a landscaping plan for the railway corridor has commenced, land transfer negotiations are progressing with VicTrack. 

Stage 2 – new and enhanced connections across the railway line

Council wants to improve connectivity between Horsham North and Central Horsham through the installation of a fully compliant underpass in the rail corridor. This underpass will need to link to east and west shared path connections as well as to the railway station/bus interchange and roads to the north and south.

A consultant will be engaged who has specialist skills in underpass design to determine the best location for a fully compliant underpass in the Horsham Rail Corridor between Wawunna Road and Kalkee Road.

Council has allocated funding for an assessment to be carried out so that schematic designs can be developed for a new underpass with estimated costings.


Improve the perception of Horsham North and re-integration of Horsham North into the wider community.

Improving accessibility to the central activity district, health services and education.