Agree james, it would almost appear to me, that Dan and his crew seem to be doing things, simply because they need to be done. His level crossing removal an example, how often does a govt exceed their job task.This has been discussed many times before, there's no real incentive for either political party to extend beyond Ararat because of the extremely safe National party seat lying just beyond Stawell. I'm sure that was part of the reason why Jeff Kennett closed those services to begin with, the four country trains that got the chop in 1993 were all in fairly safe Nationals territory so there was virtually no backlash. Only Mildura and Bairnsdale made substantial noise at the time so Jeff's gambit paid off...I don't know - The Vic Government stepped in and 'saved' the Overland so I'm not sure they're entirely agnostic to rail in that region?
Fast-forward 26 years and the Bracks government's decision to re-open as far as Ararat appears to work well, there's multiple services for buses to connect to from the Wimmera/Mallee and it's also made Ararat an accessible tourist destination for day trips from Melbourne. The expense of reinstating standard gauge services beyond Ararat will probably be a permanent obstacle to any future Wimmera trains; can't see this changing any time soon.
Also the freight separation, job card in Ballarat, it probably doesn't need to be done, but it is certainly a very smart move.
However I'm not saying they are about to crank up a passenger train service to Horsham, there plenty of other cakes to bake before that, but Horsham, Hamilton and obviously Mildura will keep simmering and their time will come and weather it's Dan or who ever, they will get pressured into delivering.