NRMA wants minister for coast
By JANE GARDNER
NRMA director Wendy Machin yesterday announced plans to lobby for the creation of a Federal minister for east coast development.
Members on the NRMA Better Roads Panel discussed the need for a stronger voice for the area to fix the roads and create a more effective thoroughfare to boost the economy.
Meeting in Ballina, Ms Machin said the need to fast-track improvements on the roads was also vital to sustain the predicted population growth.
"There are ministers for the Hunter, West Sydney and Illawarra areas, so if you look at our region's growth rate we need better political representation," Ms Machin said.
"These roads are major economic drivers that link South-East Queensland to NSW and this is a fact that's not recognised by the Government.
"It wouldn't hurt to have a federal person to take responsibility, and if we leave it, it will be too late to play catch-up."
Concerns were also raised about the condition of the Bangalow-to-Lismore road.
Ms Machin said this road was important for the region and the lack of development could potentially affect the economy.
"There is a strong link between good roads and a strong, regional economy that creates jobs, keeps young people in the area, and makes the coast a good place to live," Ms Machin said.
The NRMA will finance research into the local area's roads based on feedback from a series of meetings.
Meanwhile, the NRMA presented the Lismore City Council yesterday with $5000 to help finance a late night bus service.
The late-nighter bus service operates on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights between 10pm and 4am, and is designed to dis- courage drink-driving.