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Byron Shire
February 9, 2023

No more mean, tricky politics

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Iron Gates development in Evans Head land owners go into administration – again

The Iron Gates development, that is on flood- and fire-prone land near Evans Head, has been fought by the community for over 30 years. The current company that owns the site, Goldcoral Pty Ltd whose director is Graeme Ingles, has now been placed into administration.

Other News

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A big month in the House

Back by popular demand is the Moontide Ensemble in their farewell show before heading overseas. The Moontide Ensemble returns to the Brunswick Picture House to perform their highly regarded audiovisual show. 

Temporary pods

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Natural history

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While local politicians use taxpayers’ money for full-page ads in local papers claiming credit for providing funds for flood recovery, or infrastructure and services, as well as Christmas messages, curiously not one is claiming credit for the $14.4m of state and federal government money spent destroying the Casino to Murwillumbah (C–M) train line, worth billions, from Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek to replace it with a bike track for a few fit cyclists.

If destroying this valuable train line for a bike track is such a wonderful idea and has community support, why wouldn’t local politicians not want to claim credit for it?

Obviously local politicians are well aware of the community’s opposition and massive long-running David and Goliath battle to stop the waste of taxpayers’ money destroying this rail line, when there’s a desperate need for sustainable public transport for this fast-growing region and millions of tourists.

In the middle of a climate catastrophe when we need to work hard and fast to reduce our emissions, all we get from our politicians is waste of taxpayers’ money and mean, tricky politics. The Liberal/National Parties (LNP) must provide the train service they promised for so many years. As they said: ‘It (a commuter train service on the C–M line) would cost about $1.6m to run, which came in under the $2.8m of the current bus service. The next step would be to build a rail link between Murwillumbah and the Gold Coast.’ They also said the social, environmental, and flow-on economic benefits of this train service were enormous, if difficult to measure.

Locals would also like to know what the Labor Party and Green politicians are doing to save this train line. Why aren’t they making a noise and holding the LNP to account and demanding they honour their longstanding promise ‘to get the trains running’?

Voters are over this mean, tricky style of politics where promises are made to gain votes then ditched on some pretext or dodgy study. As we saw at the recent federal election, where the vote for Labor and the LNP went through the floor as disenchanted voters preferred decent independent candidates.

If we’re going to survive increasing numbers and severity of climate disasters, this vote will have to be repeated at the state election in March.

Louise Doran, Ocean Shores


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5 COMMENTS

  1. The community is not opposed to the trail. In fact it is very popular already before it has even opened, despite many people not yet being aware of it being built. Wait for the fanfare from all politicians involved, from Local Government through State and Federal, when the trail opens on March.

    The trail is not a waste of money. The business case that secured the funding showed that it would make a positive return on the investment for our local community. There was no future for decaying infrastructure to be reused. A substantial amount of it has been repurposed for the trail while the remained has been recycled.

    Trains on the corridor could not provide sustainable public transport. This is a firmly established fact. They old railway ran parallel to the least used main road in Tweed Shire. Most people from Murwillumbah travel to the north for work, entertainment and major purchases. Wanting a new $2 billion railway from Murwillumbah (population about 9,000) to the Gold Coast is utterly ludicrous and demonstrates an unparalleled sense of entitlement. Any new railway from the Gold Coast would take the much shorter route beside the motorway directly to Yelgun where it would pass closer to the growing Tweed coastal communities.

    In any case the tracks have already been removed in the Tweed section. Trains will never ever again run on that corridor.

    The Labor Party has always supported the rail trail. They voted with the government to close the railway and enable the construction of the trail. The National Party does not have a policy to resurrect the old railway. Even if they did they do not control the government. They indicated support for the return of rail over a decade ago and had an independent report prepared. The report found that it would be very expensive and ineffective at contributing to either the current and future transport needs of the region. Ancient history. Forget it.

    There is no promise by anyone to return the railway. Your persistent, repetitive whimpering is not going to change that fact.

  2. Louise why do you keep pulling out this “bike track for a few fit cyclist” cracked record , it is making you look like a untraveled blinkered person who hasn’t left the confines of their loungeroom. Go and visit a rail trail anywhere and you will find that they are used by unfit , overweight , aged , children and families who mostly cycle along them but you know what they also walk , run , jog , hop and crawl for mental and physical fitness .
    Do you realise that you don’t need to be a fit cyclist as the steepest gradient on the NR line is 1 in 50 ie 1 metre rise in 50 metres . Mobility impaired ramps for wheelchairs are much steeper at 1 in 14 gradient .
    And Louis if you stepped outside you would see so many older folk have joined in the Ebike boom that has given them a new lease on life without requiring driving their steel cocoons everywhere.
    Louis the distance from Mullum to Billinudgel is 6.7km via the old steam age alignment railway line which is so much safer and quicker than riding the Coolamon Scenic Drive death trap route . Imagine getting on your Ebike at Open Sores , riding on the pathways to Ma Rings Pub for a rehydration and then back on the old rail line for the short 6.8km flat ride to Mullum . Crikey many people walk or run more than 6km before work for fitness and social interaction.
    Louis the old slow meandering rail line route built to be faster than a horse in 1894 is irrelevant in todays modern world . The future modern rail system will be following the M1 as per all local,state and federal government reports and submissions.
    Stop pushing the slow romantic iron horse that has seized up from rust and rot .

  3. SAVE the TRAIN ….facing the unknown Climate disaster and collapsing Roads in and out of the Shire….the Train will be our saviour should we need emergency escape.

    • Yet another confused post from a frantic railway advocate with no grasp of reality and no ability to engage in reasoned discussion.

      There is no evidence whatsoever that a train on the old corridor would have any positive effect on climate change. Our governments are continuing to invest in improving our roads because that is the way the vast majority of people and goods need to be moved in this region. Most of us don’t live anywhere near the old railway corridor not have any need to travel to other places along it.

      Decaying rail infrastructure isn’t going to save anyone from anything. Nobody is going to pour vast sums of money into a railway that would only be used by a tiny minority.

  4. The Government decided a decade ago not to restore the Northern Rivers Railway . It was based on a study done by ARUP , the internationally recognised rail transport consultancy firm responsible for the design of the Canberra light rail and the delivery of the Gold Coast light rail. Its findings reflected the advice given by the rail authorities to the Legislative Council that the shuttle rail proposed by the PwC study you referred to would not deliver significant benefits compared with improving bus services.

    We already know the views of Labor. In the Parliament it supported the Government to to close the line at either end to build the rail trail, and more recently gave strong support to the new legislative to create rail trails in NSW. Far from rejecting parties that supported the rail trail, the majority of voters in every local state and federal electorate voted for candidates from the two main parties who were up front in their support of the rail trail. The one independent candidate that ran on a platform of stopping its construction in Tweed, Bill Fenelon, received a tiny percentage in the council election.

    No politician is claiming credit for building a “ a bike track for a few fit cyclists” as that is not what is being built in Tweed. The rail lobby did try during the contracting process in Tweed to fob the public off with such a mountain bike track built cheaply on the natural formation below and beside the level rail formation, but as you state such a track would only suit a few fit cyclists. Instead the Government and Tweed Council stuck with what was conceived, designed, assessed and funded: a smooth level flood-free path on the rail formation that will attract a wide range of walkers, cyclists, mobility riders of all ages.

    Have a look at the rail trail in Mooball or Burringbar and you will see that the rail trail is exactly what local politicians said they would support. The Greens candidate for Lismore is also a supporter of the rail trail and the Greens councillor in Byron Shire supported both the investigation into its extension from Tweed Shire to Mullumbimby and this month he supported the unanimous motion to pursue the initial exploratory work on a Mullumbimby Brunswick Heads path using the rail corridor. I presume Tamara Smith still supports Byron Shire’s exploration of multi use of the corridor from Bangalow to Mullumbimby, but allowing for that I see no reason the Greens would not support completion of the rail trail from Casino to Murwillumbah , with links on quiet roads to Ballina and Brunswick Heads. Hopefully before long we will have a world class network of safe touring, commuting and recreational paths linking all the towns in our beautiful area, which every local and our representatives can be proud of.

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