Canberra Connection with Justine Elliot

Office contactsPh: 1300 720 675Fax: 6277 5379Address: PO Box 6996, Tweed Heads South, NSW, 2486Email: our train

It is a simple fact that those of us who live in regional Australia do not have access to the same levels of public transport that exist in the cities. This has been felt even more keenly with families paying over 130 cents per litre on petrol. Local families were not comforted by the governments attempt at policy on the run with the ill conceived LPG rebate scheme.

With skyrocketing petrol prices it is now more important than ever to invest in public transport. Our community has made it very clear; we want our train back.

The NSW State Government has committed $75 million to have the train restored, if it is matched dollar for dollar by the federal government.

The federal government has previously committed $30 million and must now commit the additional $45 million required.

In the August sitting of Parliament I called on the Prime Minister John Howard to invest the federal funding required to restore the Casino to Murwillumbah train service. I have also submitted questions on notice in Parliament to the Prime Minister.

Locals are telling me that they are sick of their train being used as a political football. I will continue to urge all levels of government to work together to return the train. This issue is so important to us it is above politics.

I will continue to work with the local community in our fight to have the train returned. I will always fight for the issues that are important to locals. I want to work with all levels of government to get our train back.

Seniors Watch

I have mentioned the Seniors Watch initiative in my previous column. The response from local seniors has been overwhelming. One issue in particular thats common to seniors is the increasing cost of living.

Local seniors are telling me that they are concerned about increases in costs including rises in the costs of healthcare, insurance, telephone services, and groceries, and yet many pensioners are on a fixed income. That makes dealing with the price increases even harder.

I spoke on this issue and other important issues that have been raised through Seniors Watch when in Parliament. I encourage local seniors to continue to come forward and speak to me on these very important issues.

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