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.