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Byron Shire
February 4, 2023

Fix public transport, not bus stop: Greens

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Plans to renovate the bus stop at Byron Bay are 'gold plating', the Greens say, while public transport languishes.
Plans to renovate the bus stop at Byron Bay are ‘gold plating’, the Greens say, while public transport languishes.

The Greens candidate for Ballina, Tamara Smith, has criticised a Nationals plan to renovate the Byron Bay bus station as ‘gold plating’ and said the money should be put into decent public transport for the region instead.

Deputy premier Troy Grant has announced the renovation plan in a whirlwind tour of the north coast accompanied by Ballina National Party hopeful Kris Beavis.

Mr Grant said access at the bus stop would be improved with ramps and ‘family accessible’ toilets.

‘Bus customers will also enjoy more comfortable seating, shelter, kiss and ride zones, bicycle racks and improved customer information. Safety and security will also get a boost with new CCTV and lighting,’ he told local media.

Mr Grant added that work on the renovations would start ‘now’.

But Ms Smith has described the plan as ‘window dressing’ and added there was no point in a ‘gold plated’ bus stop when there was a ‘lack of basic public transport services across the Byron Shire.’

‘Our existing regional bus services are totally inadequate. There’s not even a commuter bus service from Byron Bay or Mullumbimby to Lismore. What good is a gold-plated bus stop if there are not the services for locals to utilise?’ she questioned.

Ms Smith also criticised the Nationals for failing to consult with Byron Shire Council, which is currently developing a masterplan for the whole of the Byron Bay Town centre

‘This could result in the Byron Bay bus interchange being entirely re-located or tourist coaches being redirected away from Jonson Street altogether. The Nationals haven’t bothered to find out,’ she said.

‘Kris Beavis should sit down with the Byron Bay community to understand the future needs of the town. This is absurd policy on the run by people who don’t understand the intricacies or future direction of Byron Bay.

‘It’s about time that the Nationals committed to serious public transport policy for the northern rivers region like a frequent commuter bus service between Ballina, Bangalow and Lismore or a master plan for a future rail link between the north coast and south-east Queensland growth corridor,’ Ms Smith said.

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  1. I agree with the greens on this one.

    I think fixing the Public Transport in this area can only be achieved when 2 things happen:

    1. Nationals get voted out as they clearly are out of touch with the community and therefore don’t know what is best for the region.

    2. The Casino to Murwillumbah railway be reinstated: The C-M railway is an essential piece of public infrastructure wich needs to be reinstated if the Public Transport here is to be fixed.

    If the Nationals really cared about the communities needs, they would be putting the effort into reinstating the rail service, along with making the bus services more useful. Not wasting money on a silly little bus stop!

  2. Here here Ms Smith!
    The National Party has never bothered to really understand the needs of the north half of this state electorate, but instead simply relied of the large personal approval of the out-going retiring MP.

    A good public transport system will transform how people use and value the region’s beauty.

  3. Hear, hear, Ms Smith. I agree with every word you say. Public transport for locals in this region is a pathetic skeleton and seeing backpackers set off merrily from an improved bus station in Byron isn’t going to make it one little bit easier for residents in the north of the shire to get to uni or tafe or work by public transport. I long for the day when our real needs are addressed.

  4. Typical big bully tourist business. This is not the gold coast. Council should always be consulted, plans should be seen by the local public and approved before you come in with all guns blazing.

  5. This injection of funds is going to help support the visitor industry in Byron Shire which is our major employer and contributes heavily to the cash flow of all three levels of government, Clearly The Nationals and Kris Beavis recognise this and are willing show their support for this very important piece of infrastructure, the existing facility is grossly inadequate and has been for decades – Community prosperity can only be achieved by supporting enterprise in our village. All the political slanging matches do not help, they can only delay important upgrades that have been neglected for years by the former Labor government and Green councils – thank goodness we now have a balanced council in Byron Shire and a state government that is working with our State Member – Only an MP who`s party is in power at Macquarie St can help us improve public transport with direct input and support at the negotiating table.

  6. You know, it occurred to me recently that there’s a distinct possibility that the real reason for the Nationals not to re-instate the north coast passenger rail service (the C-M line), is that because Don Page, who comes from Ballina is jealous that the rail line doesn’t go there and in appearing to support the return of the service years ago and then spectacularly back flipping, is his way of saying politically, “Well if Ballina can’t have the rail, then no-one will”. It’s just too weird to try to imagine that the Nationals are too dumb to see the value of retaining the rail infrastructure. There has to be another reason they are continuing to ignore the value to the wider community of the C-M line. Clearly the $900m plan they confected isn’t believable and everyone knows that.
    So could it be, that if the rail line went through Ballina, it would be working now?

    • I see your point Milton, there was a Booyong to Ballina railway once, it ran for 17 years. The closed it because of excessive landslips and flooding, so I don’t see a railway going to Ballina again any time soon im afraid.

  7. I have long felt that the bus stop right in the centre of town is a noisy smelly nuisance. It makes many of the rooms at the Community centre unusable for quiet events unless windows are shut and air con on. The bus station belongs at the outskirts of town not on it’s main street with traffic logjams. I’d like to see a park and ride system permanently at the industrial estate. Buses could drop people off there and a regular commuter bus could bring them and others into town. I’d also love to see a bike hire there so we could leave our cars and use the bike path. There are so many factors to consider so the Greens are right, let’s make this work for the residents not just the tourists. Whose town is it anyway?

  8. Has any one thought about re locating the buses out of the CBD
    The new bypass (Burns St) on the other side of the Station near the water tower a bit of a driveway of the road less traffic in the CBD by keeping the buses out , not needing to do the lap of honour and not far for the travellers to get to and from probably only 100m from where they are now.

  9. Go Gary !
    Why is it so difficult to grasp the fact, that there is no infrastructure in the North Coast, and what there is they want to demolish and turn into a horse track ?……no we do need to hold on to the rail we have and integrate this into the Queensland rail system. This is not rocket science and is in fact the low cost option to facilitate transport between the states and unfortunately filling the coffers of the local capitalists, with all that lovely backpacker and day-tripper money from Brisbane and the Goldcoast. The low cost heavy transport through Casino to Sydney and beyond is just a bonus….. or ….we could play horsey or get a bike !

  10. Finally someone is looking forward and making sense, thank you Ms Smith. Is the Byron Bay community and it’s visitors expected to rejoice at an ill thought out plan or be humbled by a conscious and considered planning effort. I wonder if this effort by the ‘wanabe planners’ Beavis and co, was a ‘drive by and point’ or did they make the decision on a toilet break as they passed through town. Pointless expenditure without adequate foresight.

  11. Totally agreed. Just give notice to people who dwindle the mindness of the Greens’ values. It not all about stopping from anything to be developed. If Greens is way far left, into world of no development. They would never talk about this at all.

    Northern Rivers is enjoying a bad effects from the state and federal government, but remember it not only regional area in the country have similar issues. Unlike Gladstone, Townsville and Mount Isa get a lot of money because of mining tax. But sadly since the mining tax stopped, their economic progress will slow down.

    So on this topic about public transport. its really important to keep the infrastructure because it there for us to use it. Thank you for the 20st century government to put it there for us. Now we need trains back, that what would stop from people complaining about little things.

    I am incredibly sick of rail trail organisation putting the in way of everything that seem make less important. But I would accept to have a bike and/or horse trail besiding the rail tracks. That would be more acceptable feasibility for our communities and the tourists.

    But, it a sad state that current LNP government in Australia. They put tourists, big rich businesses and private organisations in first before the communities, diversity and culture.

    A bus stop renovation to help public transport problems in Byron Bay? How fixing the bus stop able to get more accessibility, not just from other destinations? There are NO services between towns, villages and larger cities like Lismore, Gold Coast, Sydney and Brisbane. A train makes this problem goes away far much more easier than working out a new and improved bus timetable, destination plans and convince people to use big trucks instead of cars?

    Thank you Tamara to make a statement on this. I am very sure you will do well. People enjoy others to listen to them.

  12. Dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. The bus interchange should be moved out of the CBD, and almost certainly will be as part of the Byron Bay Master plan.


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