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Byron Shire
May 7, 2021

A load of bull

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Late last century, a bull near Murwillumbah killed someone who strayed into his paddock. If a tourist entered a bull’s paddock from the proposed pushbike trail, perhaps ‘caught short’ and seeking privacy, would the bull be euthanased? Would the farmer be liable?

With people from many nationalities leaving that ‘dump’ in the cattle paddock it could bring human tapeworm eggs and carcass condemnation from beef measles.

Local universities draw South American students. Argentinian farm dirt on one sock could introduce foot and mouth disease. It is super infectious. The estimated cost: $120 million every hour it goes unreported.

From October 2017, farms must have biosecurity plans and exclude disease sources, an impossibility with random foot/bike/horse entry. Premiums for ‘clean green’ milk, meat, even the whole $50 billion livestock industry, would be jeopardised. Shire councillors enabling these risks must bear responsibility for human fatalities and farmers’ losses.

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  1. There are many rail trails in other parts of Australia and there is no evidence to support the contention that they lead to trsspass or to crime. The following is from the recent Goulburn Crookwell rail trail feasibility study:
    Numerous studies have concluded rail trails do not generate crime.

    Research and anecdotal evidence suggests conversion of rail trails tends to reduce crime by cleaning up the landscape and attracting people who use the trail for legitimate reasons such as recreation and transport.

    • There have been no reports of trespassing, theft or vandalism on the Murray to the Mountains Rail Trail (Victoria) since the establishment of the trail.”

    • Similarly, the Collie to Darkan Rail Trail (Western Australia) has had no incidents of crime.

    • The Clare Valley (South Australia) Riesling Trail has had 2 incidents along the trail in over 15 years of operation. One of these, a burglary, would have occurred regardless of whether the trail existed at the rear of the property. The other, an incident involving an unrestrained dog attacking stock in an adjoining paddock, is one that can be avoided by trail users following trail rules.

    • The Linville-Blackbutt Rail Trail (part of the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail in South East Queensland) had 2 incidents with trail bike access in almost 10 years, but these were easily dealt with by the local police.

    • The Rails to Trails Conservancy work in the USA includes dozens of testimonials from law enforcement officers in a number of jurisdictions confirming that the expected/perceived crimes simply do not occur.

    It is reasonable to be concerned about the impact of visotrs but is high time those who oppose rail trials for whatever reason start provifding some evidence to support their claims.

  2. Well said, Peter Hatfield, glad to see you responding to the ridiculous claims of the anti-trail crowd, keep up the good work, eventually goodwill, dedication and commonsense will prevail over apathy, ignorance and contempt for the environmentally friendly and socially sound proposal of the rail trail


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