Report regarding trail use still continuing

An independent assessment of how best to use a disused rail line in the state’s North-East is still ongoing. 

The Dorset Council initially proposed a development of a rail trail along the North East Line and received a federal government grant to pursue the proposal. 

However, a group of passionate North-East residents want to reinstate a train on the line and run it as a tourism business. 

Two reports assessing the feasibility of a heritage rail operation were disputed, which forced the government to seek another economic analysis for the project. 

Infrastructure Minister Jeremy Rockliff said the government directed the Department of Treasury and Finance to undertake an independent assessment of the two proposals put forward for the rail corridor, but it was still continuing.

“Irrespective of the government’s final position, under the relevant legislation the approval of both houses of parliament will be required for the corridor to be made available for an alternative use,” Mr Rockliff said.

“Parliament’s approval will be sought once the government has determined the purpose for which the corridor is to be made available.”

North-East Farmers and Residents Tasmania chairman Stuart Bryce, who is leading the heritage rail proposal, and Dorset mayor Greg Howard both said they were frustrated with how long the process was taking.

However, Mr Bryce said the group would not be backing down. 

“We’re going to keep interfering and we’re going to stop [the rail trail],” he said. 

“Eventually the Commonwealth money will get withdrawn.” 

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However, Councillor Howard said the promised federal grant of $1.47 million for the bike trail would be safe until the end of 2019.  

The railway in question runs between Launceston and Scottsdale.

The proposal for the rail trail was first touted in 2016. 

Since then, the heritage rail have been attempting to stop the proposal. 

Mr Bryce said the heritage rail had more support than the bike trail.