Wagga’s train station would be one of many regional rail-lines left ‘deserted’ by the NSW TrainLink’s plan to lay-off staff. LOCAL activists with “nothing to lose”will next weekforward an urgent motion to the NSW government demandingRiverinarail lay-offs bebrought to a halt.
The Riverina group of the Country Women’s Association (CWA) hasdeclared waron a state government plan that is “targeting rural and regional areas with cuts”.
Wagga’s seven full-time station staff would have their hours slashed and stations like Griffith would be left completely unmanned, under a current proposal.
Riverina group president AnnAdams said the proposalswere a“disgusting and disgraceful” example of the stategiving Wagga the short-end of the stick.
“”They pick on country towns and give us a tough timewith all their cuts because we don’t quite have the numbers when it comes to an election,” she said.
“These cuts are just asking for vandalism, violence and crime –nobody will be around to stop them.
“We have some members with close family who are being made redundant and they’re considering leaving thetown because they’re so hurt and devastated.”
NSW TrainLink’splan would see Wagga station’s staffed hours be reduced from 7.30am-5pm to 11am-4pm.
Ms Adams also raised concernsfor elderly passengers who may be fearful around deserted stationsandnot well-versed in online ticket purchases.
“The government are aware this will affect the ageing population but they don’t care,” Ms Adams said.
But NSW TrainLink director of people and corporate services John Hussey told The Daily Advertiser the proposed changes reflected a changing world.
“Customers are increasingly choosing to purchase their regional train and coach tickets from the comfort of their home with 24/7 online access, reducing the number of face to face contact at our travel centres,” he said.
““Our aim is to get the right level of customer service at our regional locations.”
The CWA will forward their urgent motion to Premier Mike Baird at a state conference on May 2.
Under the proposal there would be no changes to train or bus timetables.
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