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Feds' hysteria over access beyond the pale

17 May 2005

Feds' hysteria over access beyond the pale

Federated Farmers were again over-reacting to proposals to improve public access to significant waterways, Agriculture and Associate Rural Affairs Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Federated Farmers today claimed that allowing walking access along waterways would increase the risk of exotic diseases such as foot and mouth disease being spread amongst livestock.

Mr Sutton ridiculed the suggestion that greater walking access to publicly-owned waterways would make it anymore dangerous for farmers.

"On that argument, we shouldn't have any roads either. There is a huge network of publicly-owned roads. Most of them also used for stock movements, that enables all sorts of people, locals and tourists, law-abiding and criminal, to wander all over the country close to livestock. Should we ban those too?

"Federated Farmers have been quite hysterical over what is not "right to roam" willy-nilly over private land, but a proposal to ensure the Queen's Chain is enshrined in our legislation.

"The Queen's Chain is already in place on about 50 per cent of our significant waterways, without causing the terrible disasters that Federated Farmers think a walkway extension along the remaining significant waterways will cause. If they want to get rid of the existing Queen's Chain, they should say so openly."

Mr Sutton noted the case of beef measles, referred to by Federated Farmers, had been traced to the visiting relatives of a farm worker, not recreational walkers.

ENDS

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