Since 2013, locals have been advocating for the 123km old rail line from Casino to Murwillumbah to be converted into a rail trail, known now as the Northern Rivers Rail Trail.
With all four local council (Tweed, Byron, Lismore and Richmond Valley) supporting the trail, Bicycle NSW is excited to hear both the Federal Labor and Coalition candidates promised money for its construction.
Kevin Hogan, the Federal Member, has promised $7.5 million if the Coalition Government is re-elected. Specifically, going towards the 13km between Casino and Bentley. Meanwhile, Patick Deegan, the Federal Labor candidate has promised $17 million for the 45km stretch from Casino to Eltham.
Current estimates state the total cost of converting the disused rail line into a rail trail is $34 million. In February 2018, full funding for the section from Murwillumbah Station to Crabbes Creek by the State and Federal Government.
When complete the Northern Rivers Rail Trail will create up to 1200 jobs and bring in many tourists each year. For locals, it also provides an off road space to walk, cycle or ride horses creating a social engagement and increased physical activity.
“Rail trails benefit local people and create jobs and growth in sustainable industries. We are pleased to hear the Federal candidates commit to funding for the Northern Rivers Rail Trail. Congratulations to the local community, NSW Rail Trails and everyone who has worked to make this a reality,” said Kim Lavender, Bicycle NSW Communications Manager.
Tasmania and Victoria have shown that investment in rail trails provides huge benefits to communities, but NSW has fallen behind. Bicycle NSW calls on the NSW Government to commit to developing these community assets across the state.
Visit the North Rivers Rail Trail website for more information.