Environment and Sustainability, Freight Rail, Passenger Rail

Closed lines to be used for tourism under Tas bill

Tasmanian infrastructure minister Rene Hidding has launched a new bill to enable non-operational rail lines to be used for things like cycle and walking tracks, horse riding and running.

The Strategic Infrastructure Corridors (Strategic and Recreational Use) Bill was tabled by the Hodgman Liberal Government last week.

Hidding says 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.

One example of alternative use is the North East Rail Trail project, which aims to use the non-operational North East rail corridor, and which the Dorset Council has secured $1.47 million from the Commonwealth Government to develop.

Hidding said 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 bill has been praised by many, including the Tamar Bicycle Users Group, the North East Rail Trail board, Bicycle Network Tasmanian adviser Garry Bailey, and the Greens.