Bicycle NSW is extremely grateful to all involved in the passing of the Transport Administration Amendment (Rail Trails) Bill 2022.
As the peak bicycle advocacy group in NSW for over forty-five years with over 30 affiliated local Bicycle User Groups, “We are committed to ‘make NSW better for all bicycle riders’ from ages 8- 80 and support improvements to facilities for pedestrians and cyclists. Rail Trails are a growing international movement and a massive boost to regional business, tourism, health and resilience. NSW has waited 20 years to catch up with other states. We are thrilled by this result and very grateful to everyone for their support.” Peter McLean CEO, Bicycle NSW.
After the NSW Legislative Assembly debated, amended and passed the Transport Administration Amendment (Rail Trails) Bill 2022, it was then approved by the Legislative Council on 12th August. This amendment removes the need for each rail trail proposal to have a separate act of parliament and enables the Minister for Regional Transport to allow derelict tracks to be converted into a rail trail for ‘recreation, tourism or related purposes’.
This means old tracks like Blackheath to Mount Victoria, a breath-taking Upper Blue Mountains track lost in time for 115 years, can be made available for eco tourism. Or the Northern Rivers Rail Trail, spanning from Casino to Murwillumbah, already significantly funded, is secured to attract international tourism and benefit recovering communities like Lismore in the beautiful Northern Rivers.
Importantly, because of this bill, old railway lands- public lands, and future railways (if required) remain safeguarded in public ownership and cannot be sold off, a risk under the previous legislation. Under the NSW Rail Trails Framework 2022
1. There must be demonstrated community support for the Rail Trail
2. There must be evidence of a viable and sustainable business model
3. Environmental impacts including biosecurity must be addressed
Rail trails are proven to provide a massive boost socially, economically and environmentally to all involved. This opportunity is particularly important for our regions undergoing recovery from natural disasters. We can’t wait to explore them!
Support our advocacy join Bicycle NSW in creating a better environment for all Bicycle Riders!
(Photo: NSW Rail Trail Framework)