I ask for the reinstatement of the Casino to Murwillumbah railway because the people of the northern rivers desperately need a train.
I worked at Casino Youth Service five years ago and found there was very serious violence between young people in Casino. I was told, ‘Young people in Casino used to be able to catch the train to Byron beach for the day. Now they’re stuck here and they’ve got nothing.’
There’s a Labor Party Rail Trails bill in two weeks in the Upper House and if it goes through we’ve lost our train forever.
It’s easy for people in Sydney to ignore the needs of this community. Before closure, the Casino-Murwillumbah railway suffered years of continuous neglect and downgrading by successive NSW governments. Then the Labor party took it away. The Nationals promised to bring it back but the Liberal government didn’t care. Seventy per cent of people in a recent Northern Star poll want the train back. Lismore is the only regional city in NSW that doesn’t have a train.
I’ve been going to the markets for two months with a petition to bring back the train and have 900 signatures. Many people stop and say: we need the train, the roads are terrible, so many accidents and then there’s climate change. They talk of fond memories of the train and how they miss it. Lismore to Byron is one of the most beautiful train trips anywhere. Our train connected us as a community and freed us from isolation and difficulty. This is a rich country that could easily afford to pay for our train. But we need politicians who care about our people and our communities.
Beth Shelley, Booerie Creek