The Coalition plan to sell the land on which more than 4,300 grazing leases are held, across 32 million hectares of publicly owned land in western NSW is set to have a devastating impact on Travelling Stock Routes.
On 19 March the NSW Government called for applications from graziers across Western NSW to convert their grazing leases to freehold title in what may become the largest privatisation of land yet seen in NSW.
According to the Department of Industry “there are more than 6,500 travelling stock reserves (TSRs) on Crown land in NSW, covering approximately two million hectares. Approximately 1.5 million hectares, or 75 per cent, of the TSR network in NSW is in the Western Division”.
Greens MP and Crown Lands Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:
“The threat to Travelling Stock Routes is very real, and farmers will fully feel the brunt of this privatisation.
“This is a sell-off on a continental scale, with 4,300 grazing leases up for privatisation across millions of hectares of Western NSW.
“These sales are being pushed despite the fact that the legislation is not yet in effect, plans to protect travelling stock routes aren’t completed and there is no clear process for native title claims to be protected.
“Currently grazing leases in western NSW keep the land in public hands and put restrictions on land clearing and land use as well as preserving Travelling Stock Routes.
“The change applies to a number of routes that have not been used for 10 years, but what this really means is when farmers need these routes – when extreme drought takes hold – they won’t be there any more.
“Travelling Stock Routes are used as droving highways, but also operate to protect important environmental and Aboriginal cultural heritage values.
“It’s a case of sell now and damn the cost from a government that is addicted to privatisation and quick cash grabs.
“The Greens are calling for the government to halt this land sale,” Mr Shoebridge said