Premier on the Rail Trail and highway bandwagon

REWARDING VISIT: NSW Premier Mike Baird meets with members of the Lismore Soup Kitchen.
REWARDING VISIT: NSW Premier Mike Baird meets with members of the Lismore Soup Kitchen. Marc Stapelberg

DESPITE refusing to back calls to declare the Northern Rivers gas field free, there were positives for the region that came out of Premier Mike Baird's visit on Friday.

The Premier indicated support for establishing the Northern Rivers Rail Trail and confidence the duplication of the Pacific Highway is funded, and will be completed, by 2020.

As soon as he touched down at Ballina, Mr Baird was greeted by members of Gasfield Free Northern Rivers inviting him to Saturday's Lismore rally, then at Lismore Base hospital the Premier was bombarded with questions about CSG.

Mr Baird said the government would be announcing its position on coal seam gas shortly, based on recommendations from the NSW chief scientist.

He said the government was "proud" to be basing its position on scientific evidence after the mess it inherited from Labor.

"We won't be supporting anything which is done without the appropriate rigour and scientific analysis," he said.

"Ultimately if you want to support gas and energy provision in this state, which we do, it should only be done if there are no impacts, long term, on the environment and water."

Acknowledging the hundreds of fatalities on the Pacific Highway, Mr Baird said the government was 100% committed to the duplication project.

"We have allocated the money in our budget and our forward estimates and it (the 2020 completion date) will be met," he said.

He highlighted the economic benefits of tourism in the region and the number of jobs the rail trail project would create.

"We are certainly looking at it (the rail trail) very closely and the local members are pushing it very strongly," he said.

After Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione announced in March, Casino would have 24 hour policing this year, Mr Baird said an announcement was imminent.

Topics:  highway rail trail

Insight into Lyme disease on SBS

Paralysis tick

Insight will look at the controversy over Lyme disease in Australia

Guilty plea to hidden hydro weed operation

epa03462089 (FILE) A file photo dated 31 August 2010 shows a worker tending to cannabis plants at a growing facility for the Tikun Olam company near the northern Israeli town of Safed, Israel. Reports on 07 November 2012 state that Colorado and Washington became the first US states to legalize cannabis for recreational use, while medical marijuana initiatives were on the ballot in Massachusetts, Montana and Arkansas.  EPA/ABIR SULTAN ISRAEL OUT

Operation employed a gang of "trimmers" to cut and package cannabis

WATCH: As Knitting Nannas arrest 'Kevin Hogan'

The Knitting Nannas at Kevin Hogan's office in Molesworth St and, below left, Knitting Nanna Dororthy Moller with an 'arrest warrant for Kevin Hogan.

Group storms office in brazen stunt

Local Partners

Craft beer comes to Beef Town in new festival

TONY Hennessy explains how the Northern Rivers Craft Beer and Cider Festival came about.

The Living End are coming to Byron Bay

The Living End

The Living End are going on the road in 2017 for a regional tour

November will be a big month for NORPA

ARTS: NORPA has added new shows to the Dreamland season from November 23 to December 10.

Peter Garrett, Dreamland and the 2017 Season Launch, among others

The Superjesus: Back with Love and Violence

DOWN AGAIN: The Superjesus are Paul Berryman on drums, Sarah McLeod on lead vocals and Stuart Rudd on bass guitar.

The Superjesus are back after 13 years

Kristie doesn't mind being the third wheel in Survivor final

Kristie Bennett in a scene from Australian Survivor.

SOLO player will take on Survivor's power couple Lee and El tonight.

Scary hoping Posh and Sporty will re-join The Spice Girls

Mel B

Mel B hoping Victoria Beckham, Mel C will re-join The Spice Girls

REVIEW: Michael McIntyre has Brisbane in stitches

Michael McIntyre in a scene from his TV series Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow.

BRITISH comedian is in the country on his Happy and Glorious Tour.

Cliff Richard doesn't need Rod Stewart's help with legal bills

Sir Cliff Richard

"'Don't worry, I'm loaded. I won't keep you to it.' "

Bindi Irwin named in MAXIM HOT 100 list

Wildlife Warrior named among Australia's most beautiful women

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.