NSW bill cuts rail trail red tape

The New South Wales Legislative Council passed a bill this week that could be a game changer for the delivery of rail trails across the state.

The Transport Administration Amendment (Rail Trails) Bill 2022 will enable disused railway tracks to be more smoothly converted into spaces for recreation and tourism by cutting out costly and time-consuming red tape.

Previously, NSW legislation stipulated that an individual bill must be passed for every abandoned railway line to designate it as disused. This process has delayed the delivery of rail trails across the state.  

The new legislation removes the need for individual bills to be passed and will significantly improve the administrative process for generating new rail trails. 

Rail Trails Australia has estimated that NSW has approximately 2000 km of abandoned railway lines, but only 146 km of rail trails. 

In Victoria, over 1100 km of decommissioned railway lines have been converted to rail trails, many of which are now key tourism assets.

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