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January 20, 2022

Saffin declares support for rail trail

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Labor candidate for Lismore Janelle Saffin has come out in support of building a rail trail.

‘The Rail Trail Project is one that will be of benefit to the local communities right across the Lismore electorate,’ said Ms Saffin.

‘The wonderful group of volunteers who are working to make the Rail Trail a reality, need to know that all state candidates are backing them.’

The statement is bound to cause controversy with a number of groups who are vocal about retaining the rail corridors for possible reinstatement of trains.

However, Ms Saffin has countered their objections saying ‘The Rail Trail community is unequivocal in its support for the retention of the rail corridors – to leave open all options for future transport development.’

‘I stand with them on that and previously acted to stop our rail corridors being sold off. I secured thousands of signatures from the local community that successfully put pressure on the state government and helped this happen.

‘When I was first approached by the inaugural Rail Trail Team, I told them that I was in strong support as long as they backed in the retention of the rail corridor. They did then and they do now,’ she said.

‘The Rail Trail Project sits comfortably with the development of a Regional Integrated Public Transport Plan that we desperately need in our region and one that I have and shall continue to advocate strongly for.

‘At Labor’s recent NSW Country Conference, I was successful in gaining unanimous support for the Regional Integrated Public Transport Plan motion, put forward by our Lismore Labor Branch.

Ms Saffin concluded, ‘As the Country Labor candidate for the state seat of Lismore, I have promoted both the Rail Trail Project and the Regional Integrated Public Transport Plan, to the Labor Leadership.’

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  1. Hmm Janelle, it was Labor which firstly let the track run down and then axed the rail service. So I’m not really surprised that you would show support for the rail trail.

  2. She can be held responsible for the down streaming issues and cost’s to ratepayers in the future,
    What a stupid nearsighted initiative.

    What is wrong with these people?

  3. Well there’s one way not to get elected. It was Labor’s stupidity to close the service along with it’s cynical claim the service wasn’t being used so there’s no surprise that they continue to push this agenda. You only have to look at the Lismore Mayor’s office to see the appalling historic inertia. The Rail Trail lobby effectively stole the narrative that the Return-the-train folks were using; (for so many years, so many people have been rightly furious at the way they have been ignored and betrayed by both Labor and Coalition politicians) and the Railtrailers have spread the belief they endorse the shared use of the corridor which we all know is patently untrue. History shows that the (unfinished) passenger rail, service to Tweed remains a testament to political failure and remains hampered even today by shortsighted thinking. The rail line to Murwillumbah, isn’t a railway line to nowhere. Generations to come may lament the missed opportunity, thwarted by trendies whose self interest (potentially) triumphed over common sense for the future. Lismore, with it’s population of over 47,000 deserves a passenger rail service to Sydney. For the people who are poor; for those who choose not to fly or travel bus bus or car. It’s an appalling shame that the very people who aspire to provide leadership across the region are happy to ignore that.

  4. Good stuff Janelle Saffin.
    I’m convinced that when the Rail Trail is made available to the entire region, people will go ape over the wealth of scenic leisure time activities and health benefits, whilst opening up casual free transport options along its 130km length.
    Small and large towns will immediately see economic growth and potential, but above all, employment opportunities for those inspired to give it a go, so they don’t end up in polluted cities on the dole.

  5. Sadly I believe Janelle has been hoodwinked. She believes a rail trail will protect the corridor but instead it will mean the status of the rail corridor will be changed to that of crown land. This current government is selling off and leasing crown land to developers and that’s what could happen to our rail land if the rail trail project goes through parliament.

    We desperately need trains in this area. Our roads are dangerous and the many cars and trucks create carbon emissions, pollution, road accidents and congestion.

    • Part 4 Section 19 (3) of the recently amended Property NSW Act allows that property is not authorised to transferred to Property NSW and so able to be sold if “…it comprises, wholly or in part, any of the following:
      … (c) any land that is reserved or dedicated under an Act for any purpose, being a reservation or dedication that can only be revoked by an Act. “

      The Tweed Council’s approval of stage one of the rail trail from Crabbes Creek to Murwillumbah included the provision that the corridor must be protected from sale without an act of the parliament. It would not seem beyond our parliament and its legislative drafting staff to include such a provision in the rail trail amending act trail that will ensure the corridor is covered by paragraph (3) (c) above. That will give the same strong protections afforded National and Marine Parks, under paragraphs (a) and (b) of the above excerpt. Can I suggest Beth you discuss with Tweed Mayor Katie Milne, and also Greens candidate Sue Higginson and member Tamara Smith, exactly what legislative framework they will agree to in order to close the corridor and give us all the assurance it cannot be sold off.

  6. Wow, Janelle Saffin changes from an individual to a conservative doing what others do.
    Who but a conservative would back a rail trail when it was nominated for rail on a track when the rails went down on that track. It was put there for mass transport for the masses, yes for the wider community by the government.
    That corridor is a railway line, a railway corridor for rail and trains.

  7. Byron would benefit with a large out of town parking area and light rail transport into the Bay to accommodate day trippers and alleviate traffic congestion in the built up area. One or more of the existing rail corridors could possibly be used. This would stabilise the ambiance of Byron and maybe, just maybe, return it to what made it popular in the first place while reducing the vehicle plague.

  8. Great to see unequivocal support form Labor and unfortunately a contrast to the Greens who are still trying to please the vocal rail lobby.

    Ms Saffin advocates for a Regional Integrated Public Transport Plan while the Green’s Lismore candidate Sue Higginson had advised me she also advocates “…for a genuine, proper and realistic investment in an independent comprehensive plan”; both are commendable initiatives. However Ms Higginson’s has told us she wants to have a review of the corridor, but the rail and the corridor have been subject to detailed review three times over three decades, and each time the government was told rail was not worthwhile, was too expensive and was poorly targeted at those who need public transport. Since 2012, when the Casino to Murwillumbah Transport Study was done by Arup the older public transport dependent households are even more concentrated in the coastal parts of the Tweed and Ballina Shires way form the rail corridor.
    One important game changing development – one I know Ms Higginson is positive to – is the introduction of electric buses capable of being powered by renewables. In the ACT such buses run all day; by contrast the ACT’s light rail units will only be able to travel a few kilometres without ugly and expensive overhead wires. A network of more frequent regular, disabled friendly, renewable powered electric buses targeted at the busiest commuter routes and the public transport dependent populations will much better serve our transport needs than rail and far more quickly bring about our transition to renewable transport. By making their charging facilities available to the public we can also provide strong support to the transition to renewable powered cars.

    The completion of the motorway to Sydney also opens opportunities for improved long distance transport with faster express coach links from centres like Ballina and the Bay to higher speed trains from Sydney to Coffs or Grafton, and to QLD gauge rail services at Tweed Heads. We do not need to be wedded to rail to provide better and more sustainable transport in our area.

    There is an ongoing need to review transport strategies, but that must be done in the light of cost and benefit, and of changing demographics, technologies, and in our area improved roads. A short desk study is all that is needed to confirm the continuing validity of the Arup study findings that support better road-based transport, and that should be done promptly so as not to delay the implementation of improved public transport and of course the rail trail. I call on Labor and the Greens to commit to implementing without undue delay better timetabled and fully sustainable public transport in this region. In that regard I also ask Sue Higginson and Tamara Smith to commit to – if elected in 2019 – getting a resolution of the question of the use of rail for transport in their first semester, so we can move on to a sustainable public transport future.

  9. Great to see out leaders with a vision and the rail trail will definitely preserve the corridor and stop it being sold off. The trains haven’t run for over 14 years and there is no study that justifies the huge expense required to bring them back so it’s really time to move on and do something positive with the corridor. Here is a related story about an on demand transport service being trialed in our region https://www.echo.net.au/2018/11/demand-public-transport-tested-northern-rivers/. This has the potential to provide a great transport service to so many more people than just those that live next to a train station!


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