Coffs Council on the right track

COFFS Harbour City Council has led the way for a national rail system.

A motion put forward locally by Cr Rodney Degens and adopted by the City of Coffs Harbour for the creation of a government authority for rail has won national support.

Coffs Harbour’s motion was unanimously supported by all local government mayors and councillors at the National General Assembly of Local Government in Canberra this week.

Cr Degens, Coffs Harbour Mayor Keith Rhoades and the council’s director of land use, health and development, Mark Salter, attended the assembly.

The wording of the request to go to the Federal Government is:

“That this National General Assembly lobby the Australian Government to address the state of underinvestment in the National Rail System through the formation of a Government Authority for Rail.”

As a re-constituted government authority, through an act of parliament, the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) would be better able to acquire or resume land for new tracks in the way the (NSW) Roads and Traffic Authority does for road projects now, the assembly was told.

The new authority would be charged with the responsibility of getting more freight onto rail and lifting the average speed of inter-modal trains to average 80 km/h between terminals with axle loads up to 21 tonnes as was agreed to by the Australian Transport Summit at its historic National Rail Summit in September 1997, as well as with the responsibility of supporting and assisting local councils and rail groups in their requests to re-establish local passenger rail services.

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