Local Land Services speak out about the importance of maintaining our travelling stock route network

The Northern Tablelands Local Land Services (LLS) is responsible for managing 46,700 hectares of Travelling Stock Reserves (TSRs) across the region - much of which is open to abuse.

"The most common illegal activity on TSRs is the collection of firewood, particularly at this time of year," said TSR Team Leader Ross Fuller.

"Fallen timber and standing dead trees provide excellent habitat for native animals, so the removal of timber threatens their survival."

Dirt bike riding in stock routes is also illegal and is prolific across the region.

"There is a TSR being used for dirt biking in nearly every town," Mr Fuller said.

"It rotates too, we get in and put signs up, and there is media coverage, and then people go somewhere else."

Mr Fuller said local police have the authority to enforce the Local Land Service and associated penalties.

"It is a penalty of $5,500 for illegal TSR activities including the collection of firewood, gravel extraction, dirt bike riding and the dumping of rubbish," he said.

"And there is the ability to do on the spot fines. Management of the problem relies on our coordination with council rangers and local police."

We appreciate most people do the right thing but when someone steps outside permitted activities, we have a responsibility to protect the interests of the whole community,

Ross Fuller TSR Team Leader

Mr Fuller said the LLS works closely with rangers across the region.

"We ask the police to do drive-bys at sites where we know illegal activity is regularly taking place," he said.

"There is a site at Armidale where we had a pretty good result with that. If needed, we can install and lock gates in some places which we did in Inverell recently, and that has proved effective. "

The LLS says it also collaborates closely with neighbours maintain fence lines.

"We are committed to maintaining a neighbourly friendship with landholders who own farms alongside TSRs," Mr Fuller said.

"Recently we worked closely with our neighbours around Walcha to clear fence lines and repair fences following the devastating December storm and we have worked with neighbouring farmers near Armidale on a native revegetation project.

"Landholders routinely talk to their neighbours before repairing or replacing fences on their boundaries and replacing boundary fences which border the 'Long Paddock' is the same - it is all part of maintaining good relationships.

"When we are notified that a fence is down, we can make sure there are no travelling stock passing through that will stray onto properties."

Northern Tablelands LLS TSR Project Officer, Helen Ward, has marking out trees along a TSR east of Inverell so that the neighbouring landholder can replace the fence line.

Northern Tablelands LLS TSR Project Officer, Helen Ward, has marking out trees along a TSR east of Inverell so that the neighbouring landholder can replace the fence line.

As home to endangered native vegetation communities and wildlife corridors, TSRs provide a food source and habitat for endangered fauna species such as koalas, Regent Honeyeaters, sugar gliders, and quolls.

"These have been spotted along a number of TSRs in our region," Mr Fuller said.

"TSRs are also widely valued for conservation, Aboriginal culture and recreation."

Mr Fuller said it was the job of the LLS to maintain the TSRs so that everyone benefits from them.

"We appreciate most people do the right thing but when someone steps outside permitted activities, we have a responsibility to protect the interests of the whole community," he said.

"We regularly visit farmers who plan to replace fences along TSRs or work on access roads, to reach an agreement for these activities to go ahead.

"We provide a letter of authority that outlines what we have agreed with the landholder and that gives the surety that they are working within the legislation.

"We appreciate the efforts of our neighbours and the Northern Tablelands community in working with us to make sure the TSRs are in good condition now and in the future."