Banjo Patterson rolls in his grave over amendments to Travelling Stock Routes, according to NSW Greens MLC Ian Cohen.
“With the support of the Shooters Party, the New South Wales Government has initiated a process of dismantling the Travelling Stock Route (TSR) system,” Mr Cohen said.
“TSRs are not only an iconic part of the Australian bush landscape, they are vital, uninterrupted corridors for the passage of livestock and the movement of native fauna, including many that are vulnerable or endangered.
”These amendments in no way make any commitments for the protection of TSRs. They do not capitalise on the unique biodiversity management opportunities for regional NSW which may in the future be linked to income generating conservation measures.
“We need legislation that ensures these 600,000 hectares are not handed over to the Department of Lands, which is notorious for hacking up Crown Land and leasing or selling it off.
“Instead, the Government should be committing further funding to ensure the continuation of this great Australian tradition.”
Mr Cohen said that in 1975, NSW had over 2.1 million hectares of stock routes, which are publicly owned and available for the use of farmers and the community. By 2001, there were only 600,000 hectares of stock routes left in NSW.
“This Government has a proven track record of conquering and dividing the stock routes. It’s time they put their commitment in writing to ensure the survival of TSRs for future generations,” said Mr Cohen.
“Drovers and graziers, slugged by both increases in fuel prices and heavy drought conditions in recent years, have relied on TSRs to both transport and feed livestock.
“Conservationists and scientists maintain that the stock routes are not only vital corridors for native wildlife, but will also be increasingly important in staving off the effects of climate change, as native animals and plants that are sensitive to climate will need to migrate in the coming years.
“Conservationists and farmers insist that TSRs should stay as one protected unit of land, and should not be divided up for short-term gain.”