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Guide Banner 4 2015

T06 255 Lilydale 2014 cropLegislation to enable further development of rail trails in Tasmania has passed the lower house but is facing opposition in the Upper House.  When the legislation is passed it will mean that non-operational Tasmanian rail corridors can be repurposed for recreational (non-rail) use.

The legislation is most relevant for the planned 70km extension of the popular North East Tasmania Rail Trail from Scottsdale back towards Launceston.  This extension has full local, state and federal government support, and federal government funding.  The legislstion will also allow several other planned rail trails including the Burnie to Wynyard in north west Tasmania.

This is urgent because of the North East Tasmania Rail Trail’s federal government funding coming due in December. The Dorset Council need to ‘substantially commence’ work before then to keep the funding.

The Tasmanian government's support is outlined in this press release. Bicycle Network have been working strongly in support of the legislation and have additional background here.

Naturally some people would like to see the rail service returned but the industries that supported this in past decades are no longer there, which is all the more reason for greater tourism for the economy of the region.  They also hope for a tourist rail service but there has never been serious investigation of this, even when the rail line was open. Many existing tourist railways in Tasmania and other states of a much shorter distance already face financial challenges.

The very scenic undulating nature of Tasmania means that it is generally not practical to put a trail beside the rail line.

Importantly rail trails keep a continuous corridor intact should there ever be a need for rail service again in the future.

We urge rail trail supporters to contact upper house members and point out the benefits rail trails have brought to regions in other states.

Suggested MLCs to contact are:

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The rail trail is in Tania Rattray's electorate.

It should be noted that a well constructed rail trail can be used by all members of the community including the very young in prams and those limited to mobility scooters.