Provest keen for border rail link

DESPITE a $4.5 billion “black hole” that NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell says he has found in the state’s finances, Tweed MP Geoff Provest is confident he can keep all of his election promises.

Mr Provest said those included an immediate $1 million feasibility study into putting train services back on the closed Casino-Murwillumbah rail line and extending the track across the Queensland border to the Gold Coast Airport.

Mr Provest, who was in Sydney yesterday for the first meetings of government MPs since their landslide election victory on Saturday, also said he did not believe the “black hole” would destroy hopes of extending the line.

“It’s definitely not in the never never,” Mr Provest said.

He added that: “Unless something else happens I’m very confident of delivering on all our promises.

“The rail ... would stimulate the economy. “Once the economy is stimulated the revenue increases.

“That million dollars will give us an actual cost. The biggest thing in the Tweed is to preserve the route.”

Mr Provest, along with North Coast Nationals colleagues including Lismore MP Thomas George, yesterday morning attended the first National Party meeting since the election followed by a joint parties meeting in the afternoon.

He conceded that the Nationals, who held eight shadow ministerial positions in opposition, might lose one or two frontbench seats in the 22-seat ministry because of the landslide to Liberal candidates.

“There’s a specific ratio they agree on,” he said, adding the joint party room was told an announcement on the cabinet would not be made until later this week or early next week.

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