The NSW Greens have expressed disappointment that the federal government has approved funding for a rail trail from Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek, ‘making way for the removal of vital train infrastructure’.
Greens NSW transport spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi said it was ‘a slap in the face to the community that there is practically nothing for public transport for the Northern Rivers but all they do is take.’
‘While Victoria is investing heavily in regional rail, NSW is moving the opposite direction and ripping them up,’ she said.
‘Even if we accept the wildly inflated Casino-Murwillumbah study for restoring the rail, this is a fraction of the more than $11 billion wasted in cost overruns for transport projects in the rest of the state. There are rivers of gold for Sydney tollways but nothing for regional NSW,’ Ms Faruqi added.
‘The closure of any rail line requires an act of parliament and the Greens will be standing with the community. Overwhelmingly the community wants a rail service and the Greens will continue to pressure the Government to reinstate the service, not remove the line.
‘The community was stabbed in the back when Labor closed the line, and now the Liberals and Nationals continue their betrayal of election promises by starving the area of public transport money and moving to dispose of the track.
‘A vibrant and growing Northern Rivers means jobs; rail tourism would bring in many more jobs while also providing a vital services in connecting communities.
Ms Faruqi said the Greens position on rail trails was ‘very clear’.
‘We support rail trails on a case by case basis if there has been extensive and proactive local community consultation, publically available business cases and feasibility studies and assurance that removing rail lines won’t compromise future passenger and freight needs.
‘This Casino- Murwillumbah line doesn’t meet this criteria,’ she said.