Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

The Long Paddock: a legislative history of travelling stock reserves in NSW

The Long Paddock: a legislative history of travelling stock reserves in NSW

Advice on legislation or legal policy issues contained in this paper is provided for use in parliamentary debate and for related parliamentary purposes. This paper is not professional legal opinion.
Briefing Paper No. 7/2014 by Alec Bombell
Travelling stock reserves (TSRs) are part of the Australian physical and cultural landscape, the Australia of the campfire and the drover, of the Long Paddock that runs like a ribbon or a “songline” over the terrain. In NSW, 10,415 TSRs cover almost 2.1 million hectares. They include stock routes as well as fenced areas for camping or watering stock overnight.

Traditionally TSRs were used to move livestock from farms to markets or railheads. Some are still used today for grazing, especially as emergency refuges during floods, bushfire, drought (fodder), as well as some local agistment. TSRs are also used for public recreation, apiary sites and for conservation.

The focus of this paper is on the regulation of TSRs, which got under way in the 1830s from a desire to limit the spread of diseases among stock. Presented is an overview of the current legislative arrangements, followed by a chronological account of the relevant Acts and regulations.

One finding is that TSRs have been the subject of perennial legislative amendment and policy review. Indeed, they are currently under review, further to the 2013 report of the Crown Lands Management Review. That report found that:

      There are issues around ownership, governance, future use and the role of government. In particular, it needs to be determined whether the NSW Government should continue to own and control TSRs.
The following key points were highlighted in the same report:
    · Many travelling stock reserves are no longer used for their original purpose.
    · A detailed review is required to determine which travelling stock reserves are required for the delivery of core government services and to determine appropriate funding resources.
    · The establishment of Local Land Services provides an opportunity to develop a regional process to consider the future use of the travelling stock reserve network consistent with the NSW Government’s commitment to the devolution of decision-making to local communities.

Responding to the report, the NSW Government said that “work will commence in 2014 on a pilot program with Local Land Services” and that “community consultation will occur through the pilot process”. The purpose of this paper is to inform that ongoing debate.