TAKING OFF: A Countrylink train at Coffs Harbour Railway Station – one of the stations where jobs would be cut under a State Government proposal. Photo: Trevor Veale
TAKING OFF: A Countrylink train at Coffs Harbour Railway Station – one of the stations where jobs would be cut under a State Government proposal. Photo: Trevor Veale Trevor Veale

Proposal puts railway staff in the firing line

PROPOSED cuts to workers at train stations on the Mid North Coast have sparked anger from unions and local politicians.

The State Government this week announced 12 regional train stations would be shut down across the state and another 19 would face a staffing review.

It means all staff would be cut from Macksville and Nambucca Heads and staffing levels reduced in Coffs Harbour and Kempsey.

Rail, Tram and Bus Union secretary Alex Claassens said the cuts would leave workers with few alternative employment options.

"These workers are at the heart of their towns and serve a central role not just at the stations themselves, but tourism advice, as well as support and assistance for visitors and locals," he said.

"Ripping full-time jobs out of rural and regional communities and replacing them with fewer part-time positions will have flow on effects throughout the whole community."

A NSW TrainLink spokesman said the review, which began last month, would continue for three or four months and there would be no changes to stations or timetables during that time.

But Greens NSW MP and Transport spokeswoman Mehreen Faruqi said the proposal was indicative of the government's "contempt for regional public transport".

"We should be investing in improving services and making them more attractive for people, not getting rid of staff who assist people," she said.

The government's proposal includes a $2 million investment to fund CCTV cameras and customer help points amid concerns over security of unmanned stations.

A spokesman said low ticket sales were a factor in removing staff from Macksville and Nambucca.



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