Bushwalking NSW is concerned with government proposals to sell roads which it deems are no longer of public use. Sale of these lands in some cases restricts or prohibits public access to hiking tracks, natural bushland reserves or National Parks. The public are only given 28 days to make a submission, so it is vital to act promptly.
The Department of Industry — Lands considers and assesses each road closure application taking into account the following matters:
- Current use of the road for access including any topographical or environmental restraints that may exist.
- Requirements to maintain primary legal and/or practical access, where already available, to holdings.
- Requirements to maintain access to other Crown Land (e.g. reserves) or waterways.
- Current utilisation of the road by other parties such as Enclosure Permit and other tenure holders and any relevant existing fencing.
- Alternative access available to affected landholders.
- Local government and other government authorities’ submissions regarding the proposed closure
What can we do?
It is vital that bushwalkers monitor their local area to identify potential crown land sell-offs in their region. Local walkers are often the ones most aware of the threats to track access. Check the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment — Lands website regularly to identify land currently being considered for sell-off. Click on the road description to find details of the advertisement, topographic maps of the affected area and closing date for submissions.
A topographical map of the land that is proposed for sale can be viewed by entering the property address and file reference number into the SIX website: maps.six.nsw.gov.au. This can be enough to indicate the need for a submission.
Visit the area and take detailed notes of how this land sale would affect track access for bushwalkers or threaten flora and fauna. Take photos for evidence to explain and support your case. Collect other documentary evidence which may include statements, environmental reports etc.
Report potential sell-offs
In addition to making your own submission/s, report threatened areas to the Bushwalking NSW Tracks and Access Officer with details of how it will affect public access to bushwalking tracks.
You only have 28 days from the date of the advertisement to make a submission. The Bushwalking NSW Tracks and Access Officer will make a submission if possible, but individuals or organisations such as bushwalking clubs can also make submissions. The more submissions are received, the more compelling a case is made to government officials. The Department of Industry — Lands website contains ideas on making submissions.
Submissions must be made in writing, clearly outlining any issues for consideration in regards to the proposed closure. Submissions are only considered if received during the 28-day submission period and should be accompanied by supporting documentation. Quote the file reference number and direct the submission to the Crown Lands case officer whose details are found in the advertisement.
The Department of Industry— Lands may refer your submission to relevant bodies such as the local council for consideration.
For more information see Department of Planning, Industry and Environment— Crown Lands