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Byron Shire
August 4, 2021

Moving on

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Youth arrested over Nimbin shooting

A 20-year-old has been charged over a shooting that took place in the middle of the day near the centre of Nimbin.

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Council negligence

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Laurence Axtens, Lismore

It is time that the conflict between rail trailers (Trailers) and trains on tracks (TOOTs) be brought to a speedy conclusion. Whilst this decade-long battle of words continues, nothing is being actually done to address the urgent underlying issues raised by both sides and funds are being wasted sustaining a corridor that is doing nothing.

Only someone paid off by corporate interests would argue that our region has adequate public transport; it simply doesn’t.

Any coherent approach to addressing climate change requires a significant increase in public transport and rail freight. Similarly, no one should ignore the plight of bicyclists; they make up a disproportionate component of road deaths and their decision to travel pollution free is to be applauded as we grow as a mecca for tourism.

It’s time to cut to the chase. We require an independent feasibility study and integrated transport plan that connects our villages to the Gold Coast and adequately establishes cycleways throughout our incredibly picturesque region. We need to get the best use out of the Lismore to Murwillumbah public transport corridor and it’s time for a powerful grass roots campaigner determined to get action instead of rancour and raves and disunity.

At the moment there are only two reports and both are inadequate; the way ahead may require some sharing of the corridor, it may require purchase of other lands, what a working and competent government does is just that.

The present Liberal government despises public expenditure and has been delighting in this bun fight. Meanwhile their apologists and servants, The Nationals, have pretended to champion both sides.

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1 COMMENT

  1. You are quite right that our area has inadequate transprot but that has nothing to do with the rail corridor. There have been more than two studies into transport services in our region and any these inform the regional transport strategy and the Tweed Shire, and neither strategy supports rail.

    • The 1994 Kearney – Sinclair Knight study referred to the poor targeting of the rail services and concluded “…the present population density in the area is too low to provide adequate benefit to cost ratios on investments in rail.

    • The expert submissions to the Legislative Council review of the closure of the line noted a suggested commuter service – the PwC proposal – was too expensive and optimistic on its passenger numbers, and that it could not be concluded that passenger rail would reduce carbon emissions.

    • The Arup corridor study found a commuter rail service would only reduce 1.83% of car traffic – less than better timetabled and routed buses and a return of heavy rail service to Lismore or Byron Bay would reduce traffic by even less.

    • The Sustain Northern Rivers Transport Survey 2013 which found the main barriers to public transport were timetabling particularly frequency of service (39.5%). Only 9% of respondents thought not having a train would help increase public transport use

    • Northern Rivers Social Development Council (NRSDC) submission to the Government’s 2015 inquiry into access to transport for seniors and disadvantaged people in regional NSW, which did not once mention the train or the rail, but offered practical and affordable suggestions on how to make the buses more accessible.

    None of those analyses has been shown by any published professional critique to be incorrect in their assessment that the trains are not the way to meet our transport needs. Another independent review will only show that the demographic trends in our area – a decline in the number of households near the corridor dependent on public transport and an increase in the number along the coast – will only reinforce the need to spend limited resources for better transport on improving our buses.

    To retain the unused corridor for future transport use it is important to use it . A tourist rail in the Byron Shire might be one use, but the one way to use it for its length is a rail trial. I understand that legislation has been drafted for stage one in the Tweed that will ensure it cannot be sold off without an Act of Parliament , and the combined efforts of the train advocates and the broad spectrum of the community who will use the rail trial will help protect it from the fate of the disused Ballina Booyong line.

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