Council says no to 'rail trails'

IN a rare show of unity, Tweed Shire councillors have voted unanimously to tell the NSW Government they have “serious concerns” that the controversial “rail trails” bill before Parliament will lead to the sale of the Murwillumbah-to-Casino rail corridor.

Despite little debate on the matter, the councillors backed a motion from Cr Barry Longland which also called for an assurance from the government that the rail corridor would remain in public ownership as part of long-term planning for northern NSW.

The vote at Tuesday night's council meeting came just hours after a protest by community groups, unions, farmers and politicians from the Greens and National parties outside the NSW Parliament to oppose the legislation which would allow rail lines to be closed and sold off to developers.

Greens MP and transport spokesperson Lee Rhiannon said many of the protesters had travelled from the NSW North Coast to defend the Murwillumbah-to-Casino rail corridor.

“Pressure is mounting on the government to drop its so-called rail trail legislation,” she said. “If this bill becomes law, developers will be lining up to get a slice of the North Coast rail corridor and the Hunter rail corridor into Newcastle CBD and in many other places.”

Tweed MP Geoff Provest and Lismore MP Thomas George joined the protest rally, along with Northern Rivers Trains on Our Tracks president Karen Kolbe, NSW Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell and NSW National Party leader Andrew Stoner.



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