The Hodgman Liberal Government today tabled legislation to support tourism projects and jobs across the State, particularly in regional Tasmania.
The Strategic Infrastructure Corridors (Strategic and Recreational Use) Bill will enable non-operational rail lines to be used for uses other than rail, such as cycle and walking tracks, horse riding and running.
This legislation has been widely welcomed because of its potential to drive economic development in regional areas.
The Government’s policy is to retain all non-operational rail corridors in public hands, known as “rail banking”, for possible future development options.
However, the Bill will allow the Government to consider alternative uses of non-operational corridors where there is no foreseeable need for rail services, where the alternative use has a demonstrated community benefit and does not preclude future rail use.
An example of alternative use is the North East Rail Trail project that will use the non-operational North East rail corridor.
The Dorset Council has secured $1.47 million from the Commonwealth to develop the project.
The Hodgman Government has also provided in-principle support to the Burnie City Council and the Waratah-Wynyard Council for the development of a coastal cycleway on the Wiltshire Line rail corridor.
The legislation is the result of extensive community consultation and complex drafting.
Support for the Bill has included:
“Proponents of tourism projects – be they bikes, heritage rail or other motorised transport – wanting to use these rail corridors will now have certainty about moving forward with their ideas.” *
“This is a very exciting day for Tasmania. Members of our Board have visited existing rail trails around Australia and overseas and the story is consistent – these developments revitalise communities.”+
“The North East Rail Trail Board congratulated the State Government on their vision and hard work to develop the legislation and their partnership with the proactive Dorset, Burnie City and Waratah-Wynyard Councils to see Tasmania positions as a world leader in nature-based and cycling tourism.” #
“It’s clear that more and more people are seeing cycling as a central and crucial part of our everyday life now.”^
“Rail travel is an important part of Tasmania’s story and heritage. We look forward to seeing legislation that would respect and build on this unique heritage.” ~
*Bicycle Network Tasmanian adviser Garry Bailey (Examiner) 14 August 2016
+North East Rail Trail spokeswoman Sarah Hirst (Media release: North East Rail Trail will revitalise the Region) 14 August 2016
# NE Rail Trail Board (Media release) 14 August 2016
^ Tamar Bicycle Users Group president Malcolm Reid 16 August 2016
~ Denison Green MP Cassy O’Connor (Examiner) 16 August 2016