NSW Treasurer signals no hope for rail line

By Alex Easton

NSW TREASURER Michael Costa says the Northern Rivers has 'no chance' of getting its train back.

According to Hansard, Mr Costa interrupted the reading of a petition calling for the return of the train to make the declaration in Parliament on Wednesday.

Lennox Head-based MLC Catherine Cusack and Greens MLC Lee Rhiannon presented petitions from lobby group TOOT to the Parliament, calling for the introduction of passenger trains on the Casino to Murwillumbah line, a plan to meet current and future public transport needs, and a start to planning for a rail link to the Gold Coast.

Mr Costa, who, as Transport Minister axed the Casino-Murwillumbah train back in 2004, interrupted as Ms Cusack read through the list of signatures to declare 'no chance now'.

When Ms Cusack bailed the Treasurer up on his comments later in the day during question time, he denied making the comment, saying he had instead said there was no funding for the project in the Federal Budget.

Amid accusations he was misleading Parliament; Mr Costa said the lack of Federal funding meant there would be no funding from NSW.

"We have made our decision on the Casino to Murwillumbah line," he said.

TOOT president Karin Kolbe said she did not believe the Treasurer.

"The world is in a greenhouse crisis, there are more and more people coming here who can't get around. We have traffic jams, increasing petrol costs, tourists, people who can't get to jobs, and a 26 per cent population growth predicted over the next 20 years," she said. "It's just politicking."



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