Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Health and Transport Top Two; Communityleaders Andresidentshave a Say

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Health and Transport Top Two; Communityleaders Andresidentshave a Say

Article excerpt

Byline: Alex Easton Chief reporter

THERE was argument andapplause as a group of residents and community leaders gathered at Lismore City Hall yesterday to discuss the major issues facing our region.

Health and transport won out as the top two, and dominated much of the publicforum, organised by The Northern Star.

Trains On Our Tracks (TOOT) president Karin Kolbe pointed out the two were closely related, telling the story of a woman who was unable to make regular appointments arranged by her GP because of a lack of public transport and, as a result, eventually having to be rushed to hospital.

Ms Kolbe and Byron Shire councillor and TOOT member, Basil Cameron, both pointed out that public transport helped create healthier societies. Ms Kolbe said people using public transport tended to walk more, getting to and from their transport options, while Cr Cameron said people catching trains could take bicycles with them.

Richmond River High School Year 9 student Eden-Monique Hull told the meeting public transport was a critical issue for the region's youth, offering them independence and access to jobs after leaving school.

Kyogle councillor Lindsay Passfield told the meeting the region's transport needs went well beyond public transport, talking about the importance of building road and rail freight routes between the Summerland Way and the Mt Lindesay Highway and west through Woodenbong and Legume to Warwick.

Cr Passfield pointed out Queensland was developing the small community of Bromelton, west of Beaudesert, as a major freight hub, which would make the western links attractive to freight traffic and estimated the transfer of freight to the Summerland Way could add up to 15 years to the life of the PacificHighway.

The new routes would also provide an economic boost to the region, improving access to abattoirs at Booyong and Casino to farmers on Queensland's Darling Downs, as well as improving access for Queensland grain farmers sending their product to the region for value-adding. …

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