Beth Shelley, NNRAG, Booerie Creek.
One of the reasons I’m passionate about having trains on the Casino to Murwillumbah railway line is I used to work in a Domestic Violence Housing service in Lismore where over 50 per cent of tenants were Aboriginal women and children. About 90 per cent of these women didn’t have a car or even a licence.
Often the school system had failed them so they dropped out in year 9, had anxiety about doing the learner’s computer test and other barriers in the way.
If they weren’t local they took buses or walked, with small children and babies. If they were locals they’d call on family for lifts. We had a staff member from a local family and all through her work day she would get calls from family needing lifts.
The women and children in our service didn’t have the luxury of a day at the beach or a train trip to visit family. Their lives were narrow and limited, stuck at home and in poverty.
When I worked at Casino Youth Service I met large numbers of young Aboriginal people and only one that had a bike. Other youth workers said that in the past young people could catch a train to the beach and now they can’t.
Politicians have forgotten the most disadvantaged groups in our region. We need trains to be fair to those who can’t drive. I would love to live in a community where everyone had the same opportunities to a reasonable quality of life. Wouldn’t you?