Rail trail funding angers railway action group

Members of the Northern Rivers Railway Action Group support the reopening of the Casino to Murwillumbah rail line.
Members of the Northern Rivers Railway Action Group support the reopening of the Casino to Murwillumbah rail line.

THE Northern Rivers Railway Action Group called an emergency meeting on Monday night at Lismore Workers Club to address yesterday's announcement of State Government funding for a rail trail.

Spokeswoman for the action group, Bethany Shelley said she was devastated with the news and is concerned the State Government is no longer aware of community needs.

"I'm shocked and disappointed, but I kind of knew it was coming,” Ms Shelley said.

"Just to see how many of our politicians aren't aware of the real needs of this community.”

The group met at 5:30pm to discuss their plans moving forward to potentially prevent the trail from happening.

"We will hopefully be getting up there as much as possible, getting our film handed out so people can look at some information and trying to get the information that we have out into the community,” Ms Shelley said.

Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said while the state government thinks this is a great idea to boost tourism in the region, it doesn't necessarily mean the railway will never return.

"Now that doesn't mean that potentially trains can never come back onto the line, the rail corridor will always be there,” Mr Marshall said.

"But what it does mean is that instead of it doing nothing as it is now, that if the community supports it a rail trail can be constructed there.”

Although Ms Shelley is sceptical that these statements hold any truth.

"We're very doubtful about the claims that the rail trail is going to draw in tourists.”

"Certainly once they have ripped up the railway tracks it will take a huge revolution or turn over in politicians before we see railway tracks again.”

"They don't seem to be thinking about the serious needs of the community any more, they're mainly focused on the needs of big businesses and corporate interest.”

"Once the rail trail legislation goes through (the railway) will be gone and the government will be able to sell off the land or do whatever they want with it.”

Topics:  adam marshall northern rivers northern rivers rail trail northern rivers railway action group nsw state government tourism funding

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