Greens parliamentarian Ian Cohen and Tweed MP Geoff Provest.
Greens parliamentarian Ian Cohen and Tweed MP Geoff Provest.

Rail link would be 'beneficial to SCU'

RE-OPENING the Murwillumbah to Casino rail line, along with a link to Coolangatta, would be increasingly important for the Southern Cross University (SCU) over the next 20 years, according to one of the university's senior business bosses.

Meeting at Murwillumbah railway station with politicians from the Liberal, National Party and Greens parties, the university's executive director of corporate services Malcolm Marshall yesterday called for better planning of transport on the North Coast.

The proposed new Gold Coast university campus adjacent to the Gold Coast Airport would be close to the planned new airport railway station once current work to extend the Brisbane to Gold Coast rail line from Robina is completed.

A future link to Murwillumbah and the existing disused line to Casino could provide a railroad between the two campuses and allow northern NSW students rail transport to the Gold Coast facilities.

“But it is two-way,” said Mr Marshall. “Students from the Gold Coast could come down to Lismore to study.

“So from our point of view we are supportive of money being spent on infrastructure.”

As Mr Marshall talked about the practical benefits of a rail link for the university, politicians from the three main parties not in gov- ernment decried the lack of foresight by the Labor Party which, just over five years ago, closed the Murwillumbah line.

They met at the station with the NSW Opposition transport spokeswoman, Liberal MP Gladys Berejiklian, who was in Murwil- lumbah to get a first-hand view of the closed and rapidly deteriorating rail line. They said local Labor politicians, including Federal MP Justine Elliot, had been invited but failed to turn up.

“Every group other than the ALP in New South Wales is open to looking at efficient and environmentally friendly public trans- port,” said Byron-based Greens parliamentarian Ian Cohen.

“We on the North Coast looked on in disbelief as the Federal Budget delivered $365 million for the Gold Coast light rail project while the Northern Rivers received nothing for rail or public transport. There are a lot of low-income families up here, a lot of young people who can't afford to run cars and many elderly people who don't drive”.

Mr Cohen said former treasurer Michael Costa caused the prob- lems with budget cost-cutting five years ago, and the current Labor Government was “unwilling to turn around and say they made a mistake”.



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