Media Release

MEDIA RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLICATION

 

The Northern Rivers Rail Ltd (NRR) sent a letter last week to the Tweed Shire Council concerning ‘The failure of Tweed Shire Council to consult with their constituents over the proposed removal of the railway tracks from Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek’.

Marie Luxford, a director of NRR, stated in the letter, ‘I write to you on this matter to express our extreme anger at the potential threat to lose our railway line. We will be focussing on the forthcoming Local Government elections and the behaviour of incumbent and aspiring councillors on this matter.  We have a large membership and will be keeping our members informed’.

We, and the majority of the people of Murwillumbah, do not agree with the removal of the railway tracks from the railway corridor and their replacement with a bicycle trail on the formation of the railway line.

We would consider instead the placement of the rail trail in an off formation setting, provided the railway tracks and infrastructure were not disturbed.

‘You, however, would not know this because you did not consult with me or my neighbours or residents of Murwillumbah and district about the removal of these tracks.’

‘We took up a petition on this matter with 900 signatures and presented it to Mayor Chris Cherry at our public meeting of April 29th 2021.  The petition requested: Please don’t rip up the tracks, leave them for possible future rail services.  We were not consulted.  Build the Rail Trail alongside the tracks.’

The Mayor presented the petitions to the Meeting of Tweed Shire Council on 6 May 2021. Councillors Reece Byrnes, Pryce Allsop and Warren Polglase all found reasons to negate the concerns of the people who had signed.

Councillor Katie Milne stated, “it is the one project that has been so controversial that I cannot fathom why we would not do consultation, and you ask yourself why the community doesn’t have trust in you, in politicians, it’s because when you get a pet project in your head you don’t bother with consultation – you make statements that ‘the trains will never come back’…Well sorry but open your eyes, what’s happened in Byron – there is a train on the track!

“We have never, ever, ever put this out to the community to ask them what they want…I feel so sad that this has happened and I actually warn you Councillors, that this will be your legacy in the future, that people will ask “Why did those Councillors rip up the tracks? – it was just an appalling thing.”

The letter from NRR ended by stating, ‘We demand that the Council undertakes immediately the process of consultation of the community as required by law. We demand this be done via the medium of a poll or a referendum held during the forthcoming Local Government elections in September 2021.

The recently formed We Can Ride Together community group, in conjunction with NRR, Northern Rivers Guardians (NRG), Northern Rivers Railway Action Group (NRRAG) and TOOT/Northern Rivers Trains for the Future, is organising two rallies and a march on Thursday afternoon, 17th June 2021. The purpose is to request that Council conduct independent, Shire-wide community consultation and to not remove the rail tracks.

 

The Murwillumbah Rally will gather at the Railway Station from 3 pm onwards.  At 4.30 pm, participants can take part in a peaceful march across the bridge to the lawn outside Tweed Shire Council, Tumbulgum Road.

 

There will also be a rally at the Council branch office in Brett Street,

Tweed Heads.    Council will be meeting there at 5.30 pm. We encourage

supporters to gather on the lawns outside from 4.30 pm.

 

For further information visit the websites www.northernriversrail.com.au and www.wecanridetogether.com

Contacts: Marie Luxford on 0401 833 164, Tom Rayner on 0428 771 811 or Lydia Kindred on 0422 007 724.