Janelle on the right track at long last

WELCOME to the party, Janelle.

It's taken the better part of two years, but Page MP Janelle Saffin yesterday finally acted to show support for the Casino-Murwillumbah train line by announcing a petition aimed at convincing the NSW Government to at least defer plans to sell the line.

Ms Saffin would say she has always backed the train. We know this because, in the lead-up to the last election and at least a couple of times since, this newspaper has asked her.

The answer has always been to offer unqualified support, without seemingly doing anything to demonstrate that support.

The reason for that, she has argued, is the Casino-Murwillumbah branch line is, ultimately, a matter for the State Government.

To be fair to Ms Saffin, she's not been alone in this view. Her electoral neighbour Justine Elliot, now a Federal Minister, has been

expressing the same view since she was elected to the seat of Richmond in 2004 - partly on the back of a $150 million Labor promise to fix the line and get trains running again.

It should also be noted that Ms Saffin's petition makes no mention of fixing the line or starting a commuter service - which is the nub of the region's demand. She asks only that the State Government not sell it before a transport plan for the Northern Rivers and South-East Queensland is finished.

However, while Ms Saffin may have arrived late on the train issue, we welcome her wholeheartedly.

Her considerable energy and intelligence, thrown fully behind the cause, would undoubtedly make an enormous difference to the fight to bring a commuter rail service back to our region.

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