While it appears both the local Greens and National Party state representatives support an extension of the commuter bus trial between Byron Bay and Lismore, a commitment from the minister for transport, Andrew Constance (Liberal), is yet to materialise.
With the trial expecting to end shortly, Ballina MP Tamara Smith (Greens) has urged the minister and Nationals parliamentary secretary for northern NSW Ben Franklin to extend the trial for at least an extra six months.
Rolling in money
She said, ‘This is a government supposedly rolling in money but for public transport infrastructure this is all we’ve had in the last decade!’
‘I was told that because the tender went to a bus company outside of the Lismore electorate, the National Party aren’t interested in it – despite the fact that Thomas George spruiked it in the beginning.
‘This trial came out of the hard work of advocates in our community and our community has in good faith supported the service.
‘It’s time now for the government to actually listen to us and extend the trial to a full year.
‘We lost our public transport infrastructure and it is the number one issue for us all when it comes to supporting jobs growth, independence for our young people and connectivity for everyone.
‘When it comes to the long term, recurrent infrastructure spending for public transport for our region – we are not actually on the LNP’s map.’
Nationals parliamentary secretary for northern NSW Ben Franklin told The Echo, ‘The service has been a great asset to our community in providing transport and greater access to services in the region, particularly the Lismore Base Hospital and Southern Cross University.’
‘If the member for Ballina had concerns, I am disappointed she did not constructively engage with me on the issue rather than going to the media.
‘I am working closely with the minister for transport Andrew Constance on transport in our region particularly on the Byron Bay to Lismore bus service and extending the trial beyond six months.
‘I encourage members of our community to continue to use and support this great transport service. Your use and support of the bus service is a key component to the trial continuing.’