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Byron Shire
May 19, 2021

Rail and climate change

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Entertainment in the Byron Shire for the week beginning May 19

‘This Life’ is the first single off Jesse Morris and the Shakedown’s forthcoming and first ever vinyl release titled The Children of the Sun. 
Beth Shelley, Booerie Creek 

A recent report from the Climate Council states that ‘Transport is now Australia’s second largest source of greenhouse gas pollution after electricity. Australia consistently ranks at the back of the pack when it comes to tackling its transport emissions.’

Apparently our investment in public transport is lower than other countries and we have no plan to reduce transport emissions.

We have a railway track in the Northern Rivers that isn’t being used and instead we have growing congestion and dangerous roads. Our governments continue to support oil and road companies by funding roads instead of rail and its not good enough.

In this area we have to pay hugely for our transport needs, thousands more per year than for electricity and meanwhile our climate footprint will risk our children’s future.

I’ve written letters about this in the past and been involved in organising rallies. But all of that means nothing if you have a government that doesn’t listen. The only chance we really have to make a difference is when we get to vote for a representative that cares about climate change and public transport.

The Casino to Murwillumbah railway line is one way to make a significant cut in transport emissions now by acting quickly to introduce a regular, commuter rail service.

Let your candidates know that you vote for trains.

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  1. Beth I think by now most people know that road transport can be more environmentally friendly than the only rail service that could operate here: a dirty diesel electric carrying the handful of passengers who currently use bus services along the corridor rail services. To remind readers, the ACT’s new state of the art light rail units can only run off the grid for a few kilometres on the flat; its electric buses currently in service can run up hill and down for 450km on a single charge of 100% renewable power.
    Labor and the Nationals candidates accept that rail will not serve our transport needs; they want to improve our roads and road-based transport, including active transport. The member for Ballina electorate Tamara Smith clarified the Greens position to me yesterday: the Greens propose “a comprehensive public transport plan for the next 50 years” with “…no set ideas around what that technology looks like”. She questioned interpreting its plan as supporting trains, stating “ if that study says no rail on any corridor we will be the first to say roll out the rail trails”. My discussions in depth with Sue Higginson are fully consistent with Tamara Smith’s advice. While the Greens are not closed to the possibility of rail, they are not bowing to pressure groups. As Ms Smith further noted to me “we don’t know what is best for each connectivity point within our region and that’s why we want an independent, future proof study for public transport”.
    Readers who want sustainable and equitable transport in our region should encourage candidates to:
    • Implement a comprehensive road and path system so we can cycle anywhere in our region safely.
    • Make sure any transport planning in our region fully explores the potential of 100% renewable road-based public and private transport.
    • Restore our roads so they can safely carry the new lighter more sustainable cars and buses now available.


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