SCOPING STUDY INTO CASINO-MURWILLUMBAH RAIL TRAIL RELEASED
Deputy Premier, Minister for Tourism and Major Events, and Minister for the North Coast Andrew Stoner today released the final report of the Casino to Murwillumbah Rail Trail Study.
Mr Stoner said the study, announced by the NSW Government in November last year, investigated converting the Casino to Murwillumbah rail line into a rail trail for use by pedestrians and cyclists. The rail line was closed in 2004 by the former NSW Labor Government.
“Last year the NSW Government released a feasibility study, commissioned by Transport for NSW, that found reinstating trains on the line would cost more than $900 million,” Mr Stoner said.
“This Casino to Murwillumbah Transport Study identified that further investigation into the benefits of a rail trail was worthwhile, which is why we commissioned the rail trail study we are releasing today.
“I thank the Member for Ballina and former Minister for the North Coast, Don Page – who has overseen much of this process – as well as the Member for Lismore, Thomas George, for their strong advocacy on this issue.”
The Casino to Murwillumbah Rail Trail Study Final Report, conducted by Arup Pty Ltd, assessed the economic, environmental and social benefits of the project.
Mr Stoner said the rail trail study included cost estimates and an engineering assessment, potential funding sources, stakeholder consultation, preservation issues and the legislative requirements for such a project.
The final report estimates the total project construction costs at $75.5 million.
“By considering the economic benefits of the project, the report also acknowledges the value a rail trail could potentially bring to the local tourism industry,” Mr Stoner said.
“Following the release of the final report today, I have asked Infrastructure NSW to assess whether this rail trail should be considered for some level of Government funding.
“The North Coast is a major tourist destination and the Casino to Murwillumbah Rail Trail Study identifies that a rail trail could draw even more tourists to the area.
“Of all international overnight visitors to regional NSW in the year-ended March 2014, nearly half visited the North Coast region.
“The NSW Liberal & Nationals Government is determined to grow the tourism industry in the Northern Rivers and North Coast more broadly.”
The report can be downloaded here: https://www.nsw.gov.au/region/northern-rivers