Kempsey mayor hopes summit will save lives


IT HAS been 15 years since the worst bus crash in Australian history, but Kempsey Shire mayor Janet Hayes says her community is still devastated.

Cr Hayes will be in Ballina this Friday for the summit organised by the Northern Rivers Regional Organisation of Councils (NOROC) to discuss the future of the Pacific Highway.

The Kempsey Shire mayor said her community had lived in constant frustration since the deaths of 35 people in a bus crash on the highway at Clybucca in 1989.

Former State Coroner Kevin Waller recommended in 1990 that the whole of the Pacific Highway be made dual car- riageway to prevent a similar tragedy occurring again.

However, the community's anger remains, with only half of the required work recommended by Mr Waller completed over the past 15 years.

"Making the entire highway dual carriageway is not a new idea, and it's not rocket science," Cr Hayes said.

"We need to show State and Federal politicians we want this to happen and we want it to be immediate."

She hopes mayors from all councils along the Pacific Highway will band together at Friday's summit to present a united front to the State and Federal governments.

"We are the tier of government closest to the people. We see their grief and we suffer with them," she said.

"It's not just the families of those killed. It has a lasting effect on an enormous amount of people."

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