Don PageMember for Ballina- State Matters

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Phone: 6686 7522

Fax: 6686 7470

Address: PO Box 1018, Ballina, NSW, 2478


Watkins playing politics with Casino to Murwillumbah rail line

NSW Transport Minister John Watkins is playing politics with the Casino to Murwillumbah rail line by not responding to the federal governments request for the detailed engineering report held by the NSW Government.

Even though this is totally a state responsibility, the NSW Government has failed to supply the Federal Minister for Transport and Regional Services, Mark Vaile, and his predecessor Warren Truss with a detailed project proposal report and a copy of the engineering study, despite requests going back to July this year. To date the NSW Government has only provided a summary engineering report. Without this detailed information, the federal government cannot make a final decision on a funding request by the NSW Government.

The federal government has also asked the NSW Government whether other rail options have been considered by the NSW Government and have not received a response.

This is further proof that the NSW Labor Government is not serious about putting trains back on our track.

Mr Watkins decision to make the return of trains on the Casino to Murwillumbah line contingent on federal government funding, and then not supplying the requested information, is a clear ploy to make the federal government seem like the bad guy.

According to the NSW Governments own engineering report summary it will cost $21.7 million to make the line safe and put trains back on the track.

If this Labor Government was fair dinkum about putting trains back on our track, Mr Watkins would stop playing politics and get on with the job by using the $75 million he says he has on the table.

It is becoming increasingly clear the only way we are going to get trains back on the Casino to Murwillumbah rail line is through a Coalition NSW Government. The NSW Liberal/Nationals Coalition is committed to putting commuter trains on the track, a commitment that is not contingent on federal government funding.

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