Friday 22 June 2007

Mr Dean
Mr Finch
Mrs Jamieson
Mrs Rattray-Wagner
Ms Ritchie
Mrs Smith (Chair)


Hon. Michelle O'Byrne , Minister for Community Development; Minister assisting the Premier on Local Government

Ministerial Office
Steve Old , Head of Office
Peter Robinson , Adviser

Department of Economic Development
Bob Rutherford , Deputy Secretary, Premier & Cabinet
Lee Prince , Acting Director, Community Development Division
Andrea Ramondino , Finance, Premier & Cabinet
Anna Cooper , Senior Policy Analyst, Community Development Division
Terese Smith , Manager, Seniors' Bureau
Greg Brown , Manager, Office of Aboriginal Affairs
Janet Ong / Clare Wiseman , Manager, Multicultural Tasmania
Rebecca Smith , Manager, Office of Children and Youth Affairs
Wanda Buza , Manager, Women Tasmania
Beverley Funnell , Manager, Disability Bureau
Paddy Johnson , Corporate Support

Local Government Office
Alastair Scott , Director, Local Government
Margaret Sing , Director, Partnership Agreements
Sport and Recreation Tasmania
Elizabeth Jack , Director, Sport & Recreation Tasmania



Mr FINCH- We have talked about the importance of walking tracks and how people are getting more into walking than most other activities, so I am just wondering whether Sport and Recreation have a policy in respect of the trails and the facilities that are provided for people to safely get involved in walking through Tasmania.

Ms O'BYRNE - I must say I was not expecting this question to come from you, although I was expecting to hear about it today.

Mrs RATTRAY-WAGNER - Mr Finch we could discuss that over a cup of tea. I have a couple of initiatives in my area if you are interested.

Ms O'BYRNE - Obviously one of the things that we are keen on is having good planning and development in sustaining physical active life in Tasmania and given that so many people are now walking, we want to ensure that we have a trail strategy that provides really good opportunities for that.

Trails are an essential part of our lifestyle. They are not only for Tasmanians, the people who live here, but for those who come and visit the State as well. They are a key part of a visitor experience as well. They generate economic benefits for local economies with improved health and wellbeing outcomes so potentially reducing the impact on the health system which we would encourage as well. As participation in the trail activities increased, so have the demands on government to provide more high-quality trails and ones that offer a whole range of experiences. We have an international reputation as a walking destination and there is an opportunity to enhance it.

Sport and Recreation is currently leading the development of a whole-of-government strategy for recreational trails in Tasmania, in association with the Parks and Wildlife Service, Tourism Tasmania, Forestry Tasmania and Hydro Tasmania. This involves consultation with all key stakeholders. It is focused on a multi-use strategy, looking at a variety of non-motorised activities - bushwalking, walking, cycling, mountain biking, horse riding, running, pram walking, canoeing and scuba diving. The idea is that the strategy will provide a vision and framework for a coordinated development, management and promotion of the trails network in Tasmania and it will also guide future government decision-making for resource allocation for recreational trails in the State. With some of these trails there are issues around private property access that will need to be resolved, and I mentioned that in light of Mrs Jamieson being at the table. Any plans for development are linked in with the Tasmanian Trails strategy.

We have a project outline for the Tasmanian trails and a discussion paper response form that I am happy to table because some members may be interested in looking at what we are developing. Part of it is to make sure that, if we say to somebody, 'Here is a walking track that you will be able to manage', they know exactly what type of experience they are going to have. They need to know whether a track is appropriate for horse, bushwalkers, kids or even prams. We need to ensure that our strategy will fully inform people about the types of experiences on offer because the most important thing is to meet expectations. This process requires some planning.

Mr FINCH - If somebody phones Sport and Recreation for advice on a track or a trail or a shared walkway that might be a bikeway as well, is there a policy in place that will make suggestions about what is required in the construction of that trail?

Ms JACK - That is exactly why we are developing this strategy because at the moment we do not have a policy. But we believe that there needs to be something that is available so we can discuss development of new trails, changes to existing trails and tracks and classifications of trails and tracks. So far we have had some quite broad consultation with the general public and interested parties through forums held around the State. Whatever they are, we need to be able to advise people, organisations or councils, thinking of developing a trail, about the issues to consider and what must be done to keep that track or trail sustainable. If they already have something that is not up to standard, we can advise them about how to retro-fit or change it to make it more accessible. We also want to be able to classify tracks so people will know what conditions to expect.
After broad consultation we have put on our web site a discussion paper which has a survey response form and that has been tabled by the minister. Anybody can respond to this discussion paper which covers some of the issues raised through these discussion groups and potential solutions. As the minister said, we are working with Parks and Wildlife, Hydro Tasmania and Tourism Tasmania because, although we are taking the lead, it does cut across a large number of agencies.

Mr FINCH - Have those guidelines been finalised?
Ms JACK - No. It is still possible for people to provide input. I am not quite sure about the cut-off date, but I think there is about another month for input. Then that will be collated and some form of strategy developed.

Mr FINCH - Thank you.