CLAIMS in a NSW Government report that buses are a better public transport option for Northern NSW than putting trains back on the Murwillumbah-to-Casino track or extending the rail line to Coolangatta have been slammed by NSW Greens.
Greens MP and transport spokeswoman Lee Rhiannon has rejected the recommendations of the Cross-Border Transport Task Force, saying the decision to rule out rail links between south-east Queensland and northern NSW is a biased decision that only benefits the bus industry.
But she said the anti-rail recommendations were not surprising.
“The leaked interim report concluded that rail is too costly, inefficient, time-consuming and cannot be justified on demographic grounds,” Ms Rhiannon said.
“Now the final report has been released, more than two years after the process commenced, it is apparent this whole exercise has been a scam, running cover for promotion of local bus services.”
Ms Rhiannon said the whole task force process demonstrated how dismissive the government was of the views of those who support rail in northern NSW.
“The task force appears to have a one-track mind - that bus services, not rail, are the solution to Northern NSW transport needs.
“As the Government's tactics behind establishing the task force were always apparent, the recommendations are not surprising.
“We always knew that the key to winning the return of an expanded rail service lies with community action. But Ms Rhiannon said she and the Greens still believed the “challenge of climate change and peak oil along with local pressure will eventually push the NSW government to come to their senses.”
President of TOOT (Trains On Our Tracks) Karin Kolbe has also slammed the report, saying it doesn't even address its own terms of reference. “It doesn't 'investigate potential rail links' nor does it look at any costs,” Ms Kolbe said.