Tourism is about diversity and catering to the whole spectrum of visitors.

The Launceston and North East Railway (LNER) have presented an opportunity to create a different product from bike riding. We have the $40mill railway infrastructure, the experienced track personnel to repair and maintain it. Let all government parties and instrumentalities come together and make it happen.

A $50,000 study has been completed which has stated that our railway operation would be viable.

Now a cost benefit analysis of rail and bike is to be completed. This does not make sense any more. It is wasting time and creating conflict within the community. It would make sense to stop creating barriers and work with all involved to create the best outcome for Tasmania and tourism.

Bike riding in Derby has proven to be highly successful. Keep developing that area to keep it the best in the world.

Victoria has recognised the value of heritage and tourist rail. We should not miss this opportunity.

The Victorian Government has just announced that they are putting $8.2 million into Vicotria’s iconic Puffing Billy, creating a Discovery Centre at Lakeside Station, improving educational and volunteer facilities.

Loved by locals and visitors alike, Puffing Billy continues to attract record numbers of passengers. More than 487,000 people flocked to the railway in 2016-17, with 60 per cent visiting from overseas.

This is the highest patronage of any narrow gauge steam heritage railway in the world that is a volunteer-based, not for profit operation.

Tourism means serious business in the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges – creating around 7,300 jobs and generating close to $560 million for the local economy in 2015-16.

Puffing Billy is a major driver of this activity, delivering around $10.2 million to the economy, supporting 101 jobs, and engaging more than 900 volunteers.

LNER are currently investigating the establishment of a heritage hub in Lilydale which will have a focus on the railway.

We will have a working model railway based on a panorama of the North-East as well as providing a space for regional tourist promotion such as Holybank and the Lavender Farm. We will be taking the community with us and have a working art space.

Tasmanian governance needs to stop procrastinating.

None of this makes sense any more. Please just do something to create diversity of tourism in the North East and the whole of Tasmania and put some reasonable thought into progressing Tasmania on the world map.
Wendy McLennan Community Engagement Officer, Launceston and North East Railway