Candidates for the seat of Lismore were invited to speak at the Lismore Chamber of Commerce and Industry candidates forum.
Candidates for the seat of Lismore were invited to speak at the Lismore Chamber of Commerce and Industry candidates forum. Contributed

Candidates give mixed opinions on rail trail plan

THE push for a Northern Rivers Rail Trail could gain momentum depending on who wins the State Election.

Four of the seven candidates running for the seat of Lismore - Nationals candidate Austin Curtin, Independent Greg Bennett, Greens candidate Sue Higginson and Labor candidate Janelle Saffin - spoke to the Lismore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Wednesday as part of the chamber's candidate forum.

As businesses look towards the future, the departure of rail from the region was a topic for debate on the night.

Ms Higginson condemned both the major parties for forcing the region to make the issue an either or situation.

"We deserve a world-class transport system but we need to do the work to look at what that is,” she said.

"Our most valuable asset of our public transport is the corridor.”

Ms Saffin, whose party was in government when the last train left Lismore almost 15 years ago, said she supported the rail trail but would never completely rule out the return of train services.

"I've always committed to keeping the corridor in place,” she said.

Mr Curtin, who supports the rail trail, said it was time people realised rail was never returning because supply chain management didn't require it.

Meanwhile, Mr Bennett said he believed rail needed to return to ensure Lismore remained a regional city.