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Byron Shire
November 29, 2022

Housing affordabillity and rail

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Here is an angle not explored in the rail trail craze.

Young people in Byron find it hard to find affordable accommodation, apart from sharing houses, and still paying enormous amounts of money, while often working in the hospitality industry in Byron Bay.

The options are to live in the more affordable Mullum or Ocean Shores, Brunswick Heads and beyond and then driving into town, if they  are lucky enough to have four wheels, to find themselves often stuck in traffic.

Imagine you could live at those locations for their greater affordabillity and catch a light rail service hassle free, maybe having your car parked in Billinudgel or Mullum, if you are a bit further away.

On the weekend you are taking you surfboard onto the train and enjoy the ocean.

Of course same would apply to any tourists in the hinterland, too happy to leave the stress of entering Byron with their car behind and enjoying a wonderful holiday. Pretty simple really.

Jens Krause, Byron Bay

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  1. The lack of affordable public transport, not only in Byron Shire, but the whole Northern Rivers, is a travesty that politicians have known about for many years. Instead of wasting $50m of taxpayer’s money ripping up a critical piece of public infrastructure, they should be re-instating a light rail service as soon as possible.

    Local residents should be very wary of the cycleway proposal. As there is no funding included for fencing, toilets, rubbish bins/removal or any maintenance for the cycleway, cash-strapped councils/ratepayers will have to provide the basic infrastructure and pay the considerable maintenance bill.

    This is just another cost shifting exercise for the state government to force councils/ratepayers to pay for the maintenance on state government assets.

    So ratepayers can forget about potholes being fixed, clean toilets, new sporting fields or other maintenance on infrastructure. There’ll be lot less money for these.

  2. Agreed Jens Krause, public transport in the Byron Shire needs a massive fix. Young people who show initiative in staying in the area and getting work should be rewarded, not punished. A transport solution is needed to connect our communities.

    While buses are already providing some service, they face the same problems with the incredible traffic chaos getting into Byron as do cars. The railway tracks are there, let’s put them to good use for everyone. Facing reality, trains won’t run again because of the sheer cost but a light rail linking the larger towns in the shire is practical and realistic, it’s a viable concept for the entire community.

    Don’t be misled by the New Zealand “tourism spokesperson”either, quoted recently in the local press praising the Queenstown Bike Trail, but this track was built from scratch, it didn’t use railway land.

  3. Jens, what a wonderful vision for how the return of rail to our region could make this a better place to live (and visit) for all.

  4. Train services have to be provided by the state government, as they are everywhere else.

    That’s why we all pay tax. You’d never know it, but the role of state government is to provide infrastructure, hospitals, schools and transport services, not just for Newcastle, Sydney and Wollongong but the whole state. Instead, they waste our taxes on more silly tourist gimmicks that won’t provide transport for anyone.

    But aren’t we lucky, we’ll get pay the huge bill for necessary infrastructure and ongoing maintenance of the cycleway.

  5. I like Kyogle for its affordable housing, but regularly see medical specialists in Casino, Lismore, Brisbane and Byron. Amenities, our employment, shopping centres and even the beach is accessible from existing railway lines, but we’re denied appropriate daytime rail services. Spending $75million in destroying $130million worth of railway tracks is a $205million loss against proper road/rail public transport services.

    Petrol prices rise, our roads are not ideal. Rail avoids the traffic congestion and parking at Byron. We can’t all afford taxis or chauffeurs when we are ill, elderly or our sight fails. Same-day return public transport services do not exist between Kyogle and Brisbane or Byron. Falling asleep, getting a heart or epileptic attack on a train won’t cause harm to others. We should not be forced into driving.

    If state politicians continue to neglect us, we should set up an autonomous regional railway department dedicated to meet our needs with integrated road/rail services. Employment, business, tourism and our overall well-being would improve when we take a rest from road traffic and lower carbon emissions. Spending $75million on dedicated cycling paths and railcars with bike racks would be constructive, but removing rail infrastructure for ‘derailed trails’ is just vandalism.


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