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North Coast Regional Plan 2041

The North Coast’s transport infrastructure underpins its economic opportunities. It provides efficient and reliable access for residents, visitors and freight.


The Pacific Highway through the region connects Sydney and Brisbane. The recent upgrade has benefited safety, travel time savings, freight efficiency, productivity and lifestyle options.

Regional cities and centres west of the Pacific Highway, including Lismore, Casino, Grafton, Wauchope and Bellingen, will benefit from improved east-west connections. The Bruxner, Gwydir, Waterfall Way and Oxley highways connect these regional cities and centres.

As the region’s population continues to grow, improved transport connections will benefit both freight and economic opportunities along with tourism and passenger movements.

Read objective 15 (PDF, 15.4 MB) of the regional plan to learn more about state and regional connections.

North Coast Regional Plan 2041 (PDF, 15.4 MB).

Public and active transport

Walking, cycling and public transport reduce congestion, encourage healthier lifestyles and make centres more pleasant places to spend time.

The North Coast is ripe for walking and cycling, with generally wide streets, lower traffic volumes and safe routes. These types of networks should link key activity locations and offer safe pedestrian crossings, lower traffic speeds, shaded paths, separated cycling paths and before and after trip facilities such as secure bicycle storage.

Larger cities and centres enjoy public transport, while some smaller centres have limited public transport options. More development in and around activity nodes will bring the people and potential customers to necessitate investment in public transport.

Many areas on the North Coast have seasonal changes in population due to tourism. A challenge for these areas is to provide additional services where peak season demand exceeds the service level required for other times of the year.

Read objective 16 (PDF, 15.4 MB) to find out more.

Connections to Queensland

The North Coast region is inherently connected to South East Queensland.

Tweed Heads benefits from public and private investment, such as investigations for future light rail/mass transit and the new Tweed Valley Hospital in Kingscliff. Gold Coast Light Rail could extend from Gold Coast Airport into Tweed Heads, changing how people access jobs, education and services.

Sustained high levels of growth in South East Queensland will be boosted by the Brisbane 2032 Olympics. This will bring forward infrastructure spending in the next 10 years and create even stronger linkages and economic prosperity for the region.


The North Coast region is situated between international airports at the Gold Coast and Newcastle. Both airports have expansion plans underway and are key gateways for the region.

Intrastate aviation that connects with the North Coast holiday airport destinations of Ballina-Byron, Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie will remain important for business, tourism and personal travel, as well as high-value freight in the region.

Smaller airports and airfields such as those at Casino, Lismore, Grafton and Kempsey can also help to support local communities and economies.