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Byron Shire
July 14, 2024

Independent Byron Cr Cate Coorey eyes mayoral role

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Byron Shire Councillor Cate Coorey plans to run for the position of Mayor at the upcoming COuncil election. Photo Tree Faerie.

Independent councillor Cate Coorey has announced she will run for mayor in the upcoming Council election on December 4.

Cr Coorey leads the ‘Community Byron’ ticket, which also comprises Kim Goodrick, Bronwyn Morris and Delta Kay.

She says, ‘I know I can be a good mayor, and support our community in this time of rapid change and uncertainty’.

‘I founded Byron Residents’ Group eight years ago, and have experience as a community campaigner, followed by five years on Council.

Independent Byron Councillor, Cate Coorey, with Arakwal leader Delta Kay. Image supplied

Experience needed

‘I believe someone who runs for mayor should have experience as a councillor.

‘They need to understand how Council functions and, in a short term like this one, a new mayor needs to be able to hit the ground running and have the confidence of the community’.

Cr Coorey says her career has largely been in the not-for-profit sector, ‘working in strategic communications and advocacy in social justice and human rights contexts’.

‘I am experienced as an advocate and have met with, and lobbied, politicians many times, most recently planning ministers and senior bureaucrats about the West Byron issue.

‘I am proud of what has been achieved during my term on Council, however I feel that our community needs strong and unifying leadership, focussed on delivering results that improve the lives of the residents of Byron Shire.

‘I will be vigilant and defiant in protecting Byron against unsuitable development and exploitation. I have a track record of doing this in Council already, and have been very vocal in defending our planning laws from those who have sought to override them.


‘I am a persuasive communicator, backing up what I say with solid evidence, not just opinion.

‘Those who know me know that I can be relied upon to consult and collaborate; they also know me to be fair and to be considerate.

‘I am proud of what has been achieved during my term on Council, however I feel that our community needs strong and unifying leadership, focussed on delivering results that improve the lives of the residents of Byron Shire.

‘We are not just a backdrop for a reality TV show or a staged photo opportunity; real people live here and I want to represent them.

‘Over the past five years I have demonstrated a firm commitment to dealing with issues raised by the community in an effective, measured and sincere manner.

‘I moved a Climate Emergency resolution which resulted in an Action Plan to help Byron plan for, and respond to, climate change impacts.

‘I have advocated for better protection of wildlife through dog and cat management and for restoration of land and water, particularly through moving for a Water Sensitive Urban Design Policy.

‘We must heal and restore this land and plan for a climate disrupted future, which presents opportunities for work, food security and education’.

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  1. Unfortunately Cate believes in the pipe dream that trains on the decrepit abandoned railway through the shire will solve the traffic crises on Ewingsdale Road. There will be no rail trail in Byron until this nonsense has been put aside because it will never be funded as a railway.

    She should get some solid evidence on the condition of the line from those who have actually crawled under the vegetation to see first hand, rather than relying on a flawed study that didn’t even inspect many sections of the track, yet claims that it is all in “reasonable condition”.

    The study was obviously based on the opinions of those who commissioned it. No wonder the council refuses to make its terms of reference public.

    • Are you sure this is what Cate supports? Cate and Paul Spooner led the move for an investigation of the rail corridor as an alternative to the totally unnecessary environmental destruction of the bypass we have. I’m sure most of the lack of support they received was fed by these dreams you refer to about the return of rail. The irony of it all!

    • Fortunately Cate Coorey and most of the intelligent hard working Byron Shire Councillors have done meticulous research and understand that restoring the valuable train line for a safe, sustainable, cost effective train train service is the best way of reconnecting local towns once again as well as reducing dangerous traffic gridlock in our towns.

      Spending over $1 MILLION per kilometer of public money to rip up the best bit of line from Casino to Lismore, to replace it with a bike track for a few fit cyclists, who can ride up hill in 38o heat and all weathers, is a travesty. The people responsible should be in gaol not government. The line in Byron was repaired for $660,000 per kilometre for a train. It’s obvious who needs to get some ‘solid evidence’ and it’s not Byron Shire councillors.

      The amount of PUBLIC money Gladys spent to save her corrupt boyfriends job would have been enough restore our train line.

      The state is being run by some unscrupulous people who think democracy means throwing eyewatering amounts of taxpayers’ money around purely to win elections while other deserving communities miss out on necessary services and infrastructure. They are not fit to run a chook raffle. People who defend this behaviour, while demeaning decent people, are also beyond the pale


    • I won’t be basing my local government voting decisions on these questions, yves but if you are feeling so obsessed by the dreadful oppression you are daily experiencing , no doubt you will.

    • I think Cate has a good a record as any on this measure. One of the few who voted against “function centres” on rural land as just one example.

  2. One only has to look at all the near empty Blanch’s buses which run services between towns on the rail track:- Mullum Byron Bangalow Lismore etc to realise the complete lunacy of thinking there are remotely anything like enough passengers who will take a train. Not a good recommendation for Cate’s analyticaL thought processes or for Basil’s come to that..

    • If ‘one’ had sat on a bus for two hours to get to Ballina or Casino to Mullum, especially after a twelve hour trip from Sydney, ‘one’ would know why they’re empty. We’re all subsidizing those empty buses.

      Buses are great for short trips around town and to and from train stations. For anything else, particular parents with prams and luggage, or anyone with mobility problems, which is practically anyone over seventy, they’re too difficult.

      Trains move more people while producing less co2 and are accessible to all. People using wheelchairs, bicycles, or even twin prams, are able to use trains, while the babies (thankfully) sleep through the trip.

      • Louise, this is such a dreadful slur on our terrific system of bus transport. I have taken the extremely pleasant trip to Ballina by Blanchs bus. It takes a bit longer than a train would but that’s because it travels through Suffolk Park, Lennox Head stopping at numerous spots if passengers are waiting. It’s also hail and ride. All the servicing flexibility that a local commuter train service wouldn’t provide.

        I don’t know though why you mention Ballina – the train line you want to resurrect doesn’t go there. What is the relevance to Casino? Wouldn’t our millions of tourists just travel from Sydney by train and depart at Casino? You don’t sound like a public transport bus user Louise and I truly wonder how often you or the other rail enthusiasts would actually use a train service.

        • The only train service from Sydney to the North Coast terminates at Casino where, after a twelve hour trip from Sydney passengers must transfer to a large, diesel spewing coach carrying very few people on the two hour plus journey over some of the regions roughest, most dangerous roads via Eltham (!) Bangalow, Byron to Mullum, Murwillumbah or the Gold Coast.

          For many senior citizens who have worked hard all their lives, but may no longer be able to drive, let alone anyone who’re unable to afford a car, their lives have been made very harsh as a consequence of the closure of this train service. Our beautiful towns with train stations in the centre, are being destroyed by traffic gridlock.

          But who cares? Certainly not those cyclists who seem to think they’ll be able to drive or ride up hills forever.

          Depending where you’re travelling from Ballina is not a short, pleasant bus trip and few people use it . It wouldn’t possible without taxpayer subsidies. Just as trains are taxpayer funded-that’s why we pay tax. The study commissioned by the state government in 1997 recommended the line be extended from Byron to Ballina and across to Lismore, as most of the old Ballina to Lismore corridor is still intact.

          Only those who’ve never used this service would contemplate for a second that millions be spent ripping up a valuable train line, which delivered people to the centre of most local towns much quicker, and could do so again, as well as connecting the region to the Queensland line and the airport and Coolangatta.

          Those who keep saying no one used the train and people wouldn’t use a commuter train need to check their facts and the packed Gold Coast to Brisbane trains. The train to Murwillumbah used to be full of tourists and locals especially during school holidays, Easter and Xmas. Schoolies was bedlam on the train. Few people use it now as the trip has been made so much longer, tedious and inconvenient. Which is why towns are full of cars and $32.5m was spent on the Byron bypass and new bus interchange.

          In 2004 the Liberal/Nationals PWC study of the C-M line found that 132 kilometers of the line could be repaired for less than $30m for a commuter train service. Some extremely dodgy pollies may have convinced a few gullible people that wasting bucket loads of public money destroying valuable public infrastructure, while spending untold millions subsiding empty buses and building bigger roads, is good value for money, but most locals have seen through them.

          • Louise, you were talking about getting TO Casino. Any senior unable to drive would be well advised to take the often bargain price air fares from Sydney to Ballina if the want to visit, Ballina, Byron Bay, Mullum etc. and the bulk of them probably do. Cheap air travel arrived after the line closed and it’s been a game changer.

            Yes trains deliver people to the centre of town. What about the many pick-ups and destinations that aren’t in the centre?

            Yes the buses are subsidised but part of what makes this more efficient and viable is that the same assets and staff can be used to service the schools. With the myriad locations of our present day schools, trains could not hope to replace buses for this service.

            Public transport generally tends to be under-utilised because people – rightly or wrongly – want to go directly to their destination at precisely the time they want to leave. Replacing the flexibility of bus routes with a train service that, with a single line, must have fewer daily services is not likely to change our modern-day intolerance of any waiting or inconvenience.

          • Not only is flying a major source of CO2 which is destroying the planet, cheap airfares are a myth unless you travel at some ungodly hour, have someone willing to drive you to and from the airport, and are traveling to Sydney and not one of the many towns in-between, where friends or family don’t mind the short drive to pick you up at the station.

            Over six million people use Coolangatta airport per year and 40% of them travel south to the North Coast and Byron. Many of them would use a train. It’s not locals creating traffic gridlock in our towns-most of the cars belong to tourists.

            If buses are so flexible, efficient, convenient and viable they wouldn’t be empty and wouldn’t need taxpayer subsidies. Buses and bike tracks are only a part of an integrated public transport system. The spine of that system is a modern, cost effective, sustainable, comfortable, accessible train service which runs at times to suit patrons, and travels the same distance much faster than buses stuck in traffic . Just as they have in other regions such as the Central Coast and the Hunter-and they don’t have anything like six million tourists. Anyone who has used these trains, or the Gold Coast train, would know they are all well patronized.

            For a fast growing region with over six million tourists a year, it’s ridiculous to even contemplate spending millions destroying a train line to replace it with a bike track and more empty, expensive buses, creating even more traffic gridlock.

            One thing we have plenty of in this state is dodgy politicians who think democracy is spending eyewatering amounts of taxpayers’ money to win elections, while refusing to provide, or maintain, the infrastructure and services other communities are crying out for.

          • Louise there is so much hyperbole and mythology in this but I’ve already been drawn in more than I should have been to distract from a thread about Cate. We can take up the cudgels again in a more on topic article.

            Meanwhile I’m sure we can agree that Cate has been an excellent councillor and will continue to be.

          • Coaches are not “diesel spewing”. They are subject to emission standards like any road vehicle. The trains run on diesel too and have always been dirty, long having been subjected to more lenient emission standards than cars and trucks.

            The thirty minute ride on the bus after twelve hours on the train from Sydney to Casino is not why people don’t use the train. It is enduring the twelve hours that puts them off. Far more people use coaches on the M1 because they are much faster and connect with many more towns. The notion that the railway would not need to be subsidised is absolute nonsense. The vast majority of the people who use the train between Brisbane and Sydney are concession holders.

            Gold Coast trains connect two of the six largest urban populations in Australia, home to three million people. They operate at high speeds made possible because the Gold Coast line was built on a whole new corridor with an alignment that can support speeds of 160 kph. Comparing that to our corridor with its multitude of 60 kph design speed curves is utterly ridiculous. A steam age railway cannot meet modern transport needs.

            PWC is a financial auditor which no experience in railway engineering. Besides you are talking about a report that is two decades old. Give it a rest on on the unsubstantiated claims of corruption. And no it is not “a few gullible people” who voted for the parties that bringing us the trail . “Most locals” are not interested in trains that are of no use to them.

            Please cite the 1997 report recommending Byron and Ballina and on to Lismore be connected by rail and that “most of the old Ballina to Lismore corridor is still intact”. There never was a corridor from Ballina to Lismore. The Ballina branch line ran from off the C-M railway at Booyong. It was closed and disposed of in the 1940s after some sections washed out and it had been little used. Just the cost of the compulsory land acquisition to reinstate it would be phenomenal and subject to a lot of community opposition.

            It is a great shame Ballina Branch wasn’t able to be part of the rail trail.

  3. Cate has stood up for wildlife on many ,many occasions & stood up to developers….she was one of only 3 Councillors that voted against the ‘Hollywood’ madness proposal headed for Federal recently . Geez what a choice Delta or Cate ?


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