Rail Trail Community Consultations
The NSW Government supports in principle the development of rail trails on disused rail lines where there is strong local community support.
Rail trails have the potential to unlock scenic regional areas for tourists thereby creating jobs in local communities and can offer a safe and scenic option for local residents or commuters to walk, cycle, jog or use other non-motorised forms of transport.
Requirements for Rail Trail Projects
Evidence of a viable and sustainable business model for developing and maintaining the rail trail and that effective community consultation, including engaging with adjacent landholders and the broader community to address their issues, such as potential biosecurity concerns, has been undertaken is required for all rail trail projects.
Rail trail projects in NSW require an amendment to the Transport Administration Act 1988 to close the rail line before work can commence on developing the rail trail.
If rail trail proponents can show a viable business model and evidence of effective community consultation, prior to amending the Transport Administration Act 1988, the Department of Premier and Cabinet will undertake an independently facilitated community consultation session for each proposed rail trail to:
- gauge community sentiment for a rail trail
- explain the role and responsibility of government in a rail trail project including the requirement to close the rail corridor before work on the rail trail can commence
- respond to questions from the community and stakeholders.
The outcomes of these community consultation sessions are provided to NSW Government to inform decisions on whether to close the rail corridor to enable work on the rail trail to commence.
New England Rail Trail
In December 2017, the Department and of Premier and Cabinet facilitated community consultation for the potential closure of the Armidale to Wallangarra rail line and invited community members to provide written feedback.
Tweed Rail Trail
In October 2017, the Department of Premier and Cabinet facilitated community consultation for the potential closure of the Tweed section of the Casino Murwillumbah rail line and invited community members to provide written feedback.
Gouburn Rail Trail
In February 2018, the Department of Premier and Cabinet facilitated community consultation for the potential closure of the Goulburn to Crookwell rail corridor and invited community members to provide written feedback.