The NSW government currently has a large surplus budget thanks to the sale of public infrastructure i.e. the poles and wires which carry our electricity.
Victoria has a Regional Rail Network Development Plan jointly funded by the federal government.
However, in NSW our government is not providing suitable sustainable transport to the Northern Rivers even though there is existing infrastructure in the Casino to Murwillumbah branch line.
The public has a willingness to use trains which run on a regular daily timetable. The Byron Solar Train has demonstrated the popularity of such a train service by carrying over 19,000 passengers in the initial weeks of operation.
Since the closure of the Casino to Murwillumbah line, Trains On Our Tracks (TOOT) and Northern Rivers Railway Action Group (NRRAG) have collected 18,000 signatures demanding reinstatement of train services on the line.
The government and local councils have not undertaken any community consultation on this issue but unilaterally decided to fund a bike track on the line itself.
This is not a much needed transport option for the Northern Rivers and will cause the overturn of legislation which decrees the gazetted rail corridor remain in public trust for use by railway services.
There is no social permission to create a recreational bike track which dictates the destruction of local rail infrastructure.
This is a valued transport corridor which once lost will never again be reinstated.
Thousands of voters are feeling betrayed by NLP politicians who previously made pre-election promises to bring back our train service if re-elected.
Take note local politicians, there will be a voter backlash at the next election if we lose our transport corridor.
Dian Flint, NRRAG