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Byron Shire
September 21, 2021

Don’s dummy spit

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Louise Doran, Ocean Shores.

What a nasty dummy spit and attempt at bullying the northern rivers community from Don ‘you can have your trains back’ Page, who states ‘if the Rail Trail (on the Casino to Murwillumbah train line) does not go ahead it is likely the corridor will be sold off’. Charming. Obviously the overwhelming support for a train service, and lack of community interest in his rail trail idea, is getting to Mr Page.

The corridor cannot be sold off while it is protected by current legislation and the community has been united in opposing any change to the legislation. We know from the cost of the repairs to the Byron Bay section of line that repairs to the line for a rail service will cost a fraction of what Mr Page and the National Party have been telling the community. Nothing Mr Page says can be believed.

You would think they’d have learnt their lesson after campaigning strongly for a rail trail in the state election and losing the state seat of Ballina to the Greens.

The northern rivers community has spoken and there’s a strong commitment to have Trains On Our Tracks. It’s ludicrous to suggest that over two million people will get off a plane at Coolangatta, put their baggage on the back of their bicycle, and ride all the way to Byron Bay. Nor will they get off the train at Casino and do likewise.

Don Page, the National Party and the Labor Party have wasted too much of our time and money on useless studies, lies and spin. It’s up to our elected representatives to see we get the service we need, not lie to, and bully, the community that pays their wages.

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  1. Louise,
    Don has a bit of front to be the ‘you can have your trains back’ Page.
    There was a stage he was the frontliner here in the Northern Rivers in Ballina, all the rage, even, but a page was turned and Don has turned up somewhere else on another stage. Coach, he is not.

  2. Louise You do not know that the repairs on the line will cost a fraction of the estimates and until its puts to tender you will not know. We are normally wary that estimate for public works are insufficient and will end up costing more People are extrapolating some work done on a small part of the track and are quoting from a 12 year old report, which did not in its TORs or in the report even consider the obvious measure of improving the regional bus services. The support for the line comes from people along the line who are only 40% of the population in the area,and who by their incessant calls for its reinstatement are undermining what is needed – a push for better public transport that would serve all in the region. It is indeed a waste spending on studies if people refuse to read them or heed what they are advising; what is most disappointing is the lack of heed paid to the the strategic approach taken in the regional transport plan which considers the needs of the areas where more of the region’s elderly and public transport actually live, and considers where people actually want to travel. As someone who has done it I do not know why you would suggest it is ludicrous that the people who will use the rail would not cycle to the rail trail, but it does point to the need to ensure that there are safe ways to cycle from either of the regional airports – just as there should be good public transport to them. I have no idea why you would not expect people to cycle the trail from Casino to the Bay – it would be a very pleasant and easy one-day or at most two-day cycle for any reasonably fit person even with baggage on the bike. It is exactly what people come to a rail trail to do. The reality is most of the rail trail users will come by car, particularly from the nearby 3 million people city, because, like it or not, that remains the way most people come to the region. What would help those who do not wish to drive though would be if NSW Trainlink did not put its unnecessary requirements on boxing bikes. Finally can I point out the irony of people voting for the Greens who are so un-supportive about providing infrastructure – not just a rail trail – to support the greenest transport of all, the bicycle. Perhaps they might ponder why the Greens went to the recent Council election with no plan for either public transport or cycling in the Ballina Shire, and consider the work that has already being done by the “conservatives” in Ballina Shire in its draft cycling plan.

  3. “The reality is most of the rail trail users will come by car, particularly from the nearby 3 million people city”

    A very good reason not to rail trail.

    Planet, environment, stuff like that.

    • So why not demonstrate and lobby stop all tourist coming to the Northern Rivers with QLD number plates? People are happy to work directly of indirectly for the tourist industry – who buys those organic chokoes – but pretend they don’t come to the region from Brisbane in cars. And if you had your train and even if it was connected to QLD, if you did want to bring your bike on it you would need to organise a bike box to carry it on a Trainlink train (or bus) to wherever you want to cycle. That is what you have to do if you catch the train to Casino. Try organising a bike box without a car some time. Meanwhile in Victoria people can carry bikes on the trains unboxed but the Vicrail buses refuse to carry them at all. Buses can be fitted with racks to carry bikes – 90% of the buses in Canberra do, and they serve disabled people there too. I would also note that one of the reasons the bus services are poor in much of NSW is that for decades the rail was protected from bus competition. That is why Canberra – lying as it does outside NSW – still has two companies each running well patronised buses every hour for about 20 hours of the day to Sydney airport and Central Station, running without subsidy, and for less then the concessional train fares and they provide comfortable, safe and faster journey. Before you criticise people using cars and promote the train service why not find out about some of the restraints Trainlink and its peers and predecessors have put in the way of providing efficient public transport that actually meets the needs and wishes of people, and does not leave them turning to cars and planes because the services they provide are so slow, poorly timetabled and riddled with the sort of bureaucratic nonsense I mention above.


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