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Byron Shire
May 17, 2021

Storming the Castle: NSW election candidates thrash out ideas

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meet-the-cantidates1 meet-the-candidates2The first of a series of meet the candidates for the state election kicked off on Monday night at the Macadamia Castle in Knockrow, and included three hopefuls: Kris Beavis (Nationals), Paul Spooner (Labor) and Tamara Smith (Greens).

It was a very civilised and mature discussion, with MC Chris Hanley guiding the questions around responsible and sustainable economic growth, transport, tourism, the role of councils and how a regional MP can effectively represent and influence the Sydney-based parliament.

The event was organised by the Sourdough Group, a northern rivers based group of business executives and volunteers who aim to contribute to the growth of the economy and jobs in the region through philanthropic work.

In case you are wondering, all three candidates for the upcoming state election supported the rail trial without hesitation, which has the support of the Sourdough Group.

Finally Mr Hanley asked the candidates that if elected, what would be their priorities and what makes them excited about the prospect of the job.

Mystery card: Nationals candidate for Ballina Kris Beavis has so far declined to speak to Echonetdaily. It will be interesting to see how he performs on Monday night.
Nationals candidate for Ballina Kris Beavis

Mr Beavis replied that he wants to ensure that the roads are improved. ‘I want to make sure the guys that are on the job get a paycheque each week to take home top their families, which feeds the local economy. Secondly, schools and hospitals. And thirdly the environment. We love this place. We have the best backdrop anywhere in NSW and we want to protect that backdrop. I’ve been quite clear that I don’t support CSG in this area.

ALP candidate for Ballina, Paul Spooner.
ALP candidate for Ballina, Paul Spooner.

Mr Spooner said he had five points. ‘One, stop CSG in the northern rivers. The second is to fund the Ballina marine and rescue tower. The third is to build the Byron Central Hospital, which would be a fully public hospital with surgical services. I don’t want to see the privatisation of surgical services, as is going to happen under the coalition government. The fourth is to stop the closure of Southern Cross High School. The fifth is stop the West Byron development.

Greens candidate for the seat of Ballina, Tamara Smith.
Greens candidate for the seat of Ballina, Tamara Smith.

Ms Smith said, ‘I’m not just saying this because I’m talking to the Sourdough Group, but I am most excited about jobs. I’ve worked the young people in this area for 15 years. I’ve watched the gouging of TAFE, the de-skilling of the labour force here… I’m excited to be able to work towards 25 per cent of new jobs from innovation and business. So I would like to move on a jobs summit very early on. That’s what I’m most excited about.


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10 COMMENTS

  1. Unbelievable! Rail trail supporters will drool over this! Gosh what happened to the public transport values from both Labor and Greens!?!?!?!?!!?! What is going on here!

    RIP Northern Rivers!

    • Actually Mathew the Greens candidate Tamara spoke of a train following the highway from Ballina to Gold Coast.I belive the candidates have realised that most of the old corridor is not suitable or viable for a reasonably fast public transport.Good on the them for wanting to give us a much better solution for the next 100 years.
      Of course if you wanted a slow heritage train to dream of the old corridor was brilliant for that.

      • NSW Greens plans have their plans to fund to get trains back on same track between Casino and Lismore before reinstating the rest of the track to connect the new line on the Gold Coast. Never mentioned of putting the new track besiding the highway nor on the current corridor. That is huge confusion at the moment especially from legit infrastructure plan. Labor more likely have same plan as well, as I got told of Justine Elliot from Tweed.

        I didn’t meant to attack anyone but my reaction to the quote: “In case you are wondering, all three candidates for the upcoming state election supported the rail trial without hesitation, which has the support of the Sourdough Group.” ——- is scaremongering. Because the journalist may not or the candidates didn’t mentioned of reinstating the public transport infrastructure including the train line.

        • I was at the meeting and Tamara spoke out about a train from Ballina to Tweed.She has vision for the best outcome.A winding slow train will not get people out of cars.The old line has curves of less than 800 metre radius,that fixes the line at 80km/hr.2km radius curves takes it up to future speeds of 160km/hr.
          Look at the planned work on the Caboolture to Nambour train line to raise its speed and duplicity.Major deviations ,track straightening,station straightening and lengthening stations to give a train line that can compete with cars.
          They deviated the train line out and around Eumundi (it originally went straight thru the market place and town) and placed the new station south of the town closer to the main road.A huge parking lot and bus bays to allow easy and quick interchange of transport modes.

          • Got that right. We need to relook at our plans. Remember restating the C-M line at $900million is too expensive. So Ballina to Tweed would cost more or what? Casino to Lismore line will be reconnected soon as it cost $50million according to Greens infrastructure plan. So we need to look at Lismore to Ballina section as well because of high demand between both destinations.

            I would reckon Lismore to Ballina line will cost up to $400million due to number of hills and stations in between. Ballina to Tweed is more likely cheaper because of current line at Byron, Mullumbimby, Ocean Shores.

  2. I agree in part with Mathew – a rail trail has one advantage – it maintains the corridor – but it doesn’t answer the need for a commuter public transport system which can eventually be powered by renewables.
    If an cost benefit analysis was carried out with the needs of the regional public as part of the design, instead of basing the study on an inconvenient XPT run to match the state timetable, we would see a very different result, especially if the service eventually connected north to Brisbane.
    All we would need then is small renewable powered vehicles to get us to the train, and then we can go where we want – renewably..
    Al this is especially important given that air travel is likely to be limited in the future by the lack of renewable fuels. So a north-south, Brisbane to Adelaide, fast train, linked by local light rail to regional centres is a promising opportunity, but of course that means acknowledging that climate change is real, that coal, gas and oil are becoming unacceptable, and that community is more important than profit.

  3. Mathew is dead right !
    None of these candidates has any idea of improving the infrastructure needed to facilitate the swollen population already here, and provide a framework for industry and future employment.
    No plan, no hope and no use.
    G”)

  4. I would really like the three candidates to respond to the statement in this article that they support the rail trail – and read here exactly what they have to say about it, and our community’s need for improved public transport. Is it possible to ask them to respond to that statement? I’d be very surprised if ripping up the existing track and replacing it with a bike path was supported outright by all three, but let’s hear from them directly.

  5. The current rail alignment might have some limitations but it has the major advantage for commuters that it actually runs through towns. A corridor following the highway by contrast would mean more people needing to travel further to access stations at each end of their journey, reducing its usefulness for shorter journeys leaving it mainy only attractive for long-distance travel. That idea should be taken with a grain of salt I’d say.

    Anyway I thought the Greens policy was to retain the current corridor?

    • Our train stations are located in the CBD of towns,most of the population live more than 800 metres from a station.Once the walking distance exceeds 800 metres then people will drive ( proven ) .Do they then drive and park at the train stations or just keep driving to their destination?
      Large carparks either multi storey or flat are required near the train station.Now you must think how large will this carpark need to be in 30 years time.
      Bangalow with a large carpark near Station St.But this car park cannot be 800 metres away,it has to be less than 300 metres from the station.
      Tourists love train stations that are located in the action i.e CBD.
      Every train station in our region has a pub located close by ,could the Liquor Industry be behind resurrecting the old corridor!!!

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