There is no conflict over the Casino to Murwillumbah rail line. The state government was sent a clear message by voters at the last state election-people do not want millions spent ripping up their valuable train line – they want a train service.
The Greens won the long held National Party seat of Ballina from the Nationals who had campaigned strongly on their plan to rip up the line and replace it with a cycleway.
The population of the north coast is equal to the population of Tasmania, and growing fast. Over 4.6m tourists visit the region each year.
The Casino-Murwillumbah train line goes through the centre of eight out of 10 of the major population centres.
Local roads are not coping with current traffic volume, let alone the tsunami of traffic expected as the population and tourism continues to grow.
There is never enough money to build and maintain the roads needed to keep pace with the inevitable growth in traffic.
The congested six lane Gold Coast highway, where traffic crawls to walking pace in peak hour, is a perfect example of this.
Just as the Queensland government has had to spend billions rebuilding the Gold Coast train line (which was ripped up in the 1960s), the NSW government will be forced to repair the line and get a commuter service running.
It’s appalling that this fast growing region, with 4.6 million tourists, does not have a train service to link local towns, or a rail link to Coolangatta Airport and Brisbane.
Over 15,000 people have signed petitions to get Trains On Our tracks.
Trains are the only economically and environmentally sustainable way of getting people to and around the region.
Only a train service will deliver substantial economic, social and environmental benefits for the region.
There’s plenty of room for a cycle way on the corridor as well. So it’s a win win for everyone.
Louise Doran, Ocean Shores