Major parties support Northern Rivers Rail Trail

Both Labor and The Nationals have made election commitments to provide funding for a section of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail in New South Wales.

Nationals MP for Page Kevin Hogan is seeking re-election and has committed to help build a section of the trail from Casino to Bentley, while Labor candidate Patrick Deegan would help build the trail from Casino to Eltham.

The Northern Rivers Rail Trail, long supported by Bicycle Network, is expected to be a bike tourism hit, attracting visitors from Sydney, interstate and overseas.

Nationals: Casino to Bentley

Mr Hogan said that a coalition government would give $7.5 million to help build a 13-kilometre stretch of the of trail along the disused railway line from Casino to Bentley, as well as public facilities at Bentley.

“Stage 2 will eventually go from Casino all the way to Eltham but this funding will build from the Old Casino Railway Station to Back Creek Bridge at Bentley,” he said.

“The Old Casino Railway Station and its museum will be the southern terminus of the Rail Trail. It is a State Heritage listed building in need of repair.

“At Bentley, there will be toilets and shelter facilities built.”

Labor: Casino to Eltham 

Mr Deegan said that if successful in the election, Labor would fund 50 per cent of a 45-kilometre stretch of the trail from Casino to Eltham.

The money would come from Labor's National Bike Paths Strategy.

It's thought that building the trail from Casino to Eltham will cost around $34 million. It is hope the NSW state government would contribute the other half of funding.

“This is a huge win for the local economy, it’s a huge win for tourism and it’s a huge win for local jobs,” said Mr Deegan.

“We’ve got Federal support, we need the state support now to get this project up and running to create tourism jobs in the local area."

A passenger railway service currently runs to Casino, meaning tourists could easily get to and from the rail trail by train.

When completed, the 123 kilometre Northern Rivers Rail Trail would connect Casino to Murwillumbah.

In 2018, $13 million was committed to building the first stage of the trail from Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek.

For more information about the Northern Rivers Rail Trail and other rail trails in New South Wales, you can visit Bicycle Network's campaign page.

Northern Rivers Rail Trail supporters also have plenty of maps and information about the trail.

Image: ABC North Coast.

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