LOCAL NSW Farmers’ member are opposed to a potential rail trail from Tamworth to Manilla, with bisosecurity its chief concern.
Kevin Tongue, president of the Tamworth NSW Farmers branch, said the old Barraba line which would host the proposed rail trial, traverses through the middle of a number of properties, away from public roads.
A community meeting was recently held in Attunga, where landholders and trail advocates put their cases forward.
Media were barred from attending the meeting by a “directive from Sydney”, Mr Tongue said.
“Everyone was in agreeance there are benefits for the communities,” Mr Tongue told The Leader.
Mr Tongue said NSW Farmers’ stance on rail trails would be dictated by the sentiment of the affected landholders and the location of the line within properties was a sticking point.
“We’re not in favour, there are concerns with bisosecurity and safety,” he said.
With the need for every farm to have biosecurity management plans from October 1, having droves of unknown people potentially walking through farmland, poses too big a risk for farmers.
Meanwhile, the push for a trail further north on the New England Hwy is gathering steam.
Scot MacDonald, Liberal MLC, has advocated for a New England rail trail and said the Tamworth farmers had “very valid concerns”, but nothing was “insurmountable”.
“Rail trails, in my reading, in Victoria and New Zealand, have done well for the communities,” Mr MacDonald said.
“It’s making use of an asset while getting different people in the region ... people who spend money.”
He said the New England trail had garnered a lot of support and hoped to see the parliament pass a transport amendment bill in the next year.