The Northern Rivers Railway Action Group has expressed disappointment at the decision of the NSW Tourism Minister to give $6.3 million to the rail trail in Murwillumbah.
The group believes if the Federal government approves the additional funding this will mean the loss of the Casino to Murwillumbah rail corridor.
Beth Shelley, spokesperson for NRRAG says, ‘We had a sign ‘We Need Trains” out the front of Southern Cross University last Monday for Premier Gladys Berejyglian to see as she drove past. It’s sad that she found out we were there and came in another way. Why not listen to all views?”
Jozie O’Callaghan from NRRAG said group members ‘just wanted to have a cup of tea with Gladys and talk about trains’.
Beth Shelley said many people believed that having a rail trail would protect the rail corridor.
‘The Casino to Murwillumbah railway line is protected under the 99A Transport Administration Act, which only an act of Parliament can amend,’ she said.
‘If the government passes rail trail legislation that is an act of parliament so the protection for the corridor will be gone.’
‘The State government approved the recent Tumbarumba rail trail legislation which means the Tumbarumba railway land has now become crown lands. As seen at Brunswick Heads recently the State government can hand over crown lands to developers without community consultation.’
‘Meanwhile we are confronted with urgent action needed on climate change, while more cars and trucks on the roads increase carbon emissions as well as causing more traffic congestion, more damage to already dangerous roads and therefore more road accidents’
‘Our ever increasing population of elderly people and people on disability benefits etc often cannot drive or have no car. It makes life so difficult for our most disadvantaged people. Trains are cheap, efficient and cut down carbon emissions and they can make life fairer and easier for people who are struggling.
Ms Shelley said the Northern Rivers Railway Action Group haddeveloped a petition through changes.org which is on the group’s facebook page.
‘We ask that our community speak out by signing and sharing this petition. If anyone would like to help with film screenings or meetings in their local area you can also email to nrrailwayaction @gmail.com