The Hon. ERIC ROOZENDAAL: My question without notice is addressed to the Minister for Lands. What is the Department of Lands doing to promote the wonderful tourism and leisure assets of the Hume and Hovell Walking Track?
The Hon. TONY KELLY: Last week I joined a trek along the Hume and Hovell Walking Track, hosted by the Department of Lands. The track follows the route taken by explorers Hamilton Hume and William Hovell on their 1824 expedition from Yass to Port Phillip—the present day Melbourne. It proved to be one of the colony's most significant explorations. Hume and Hovell travelled more than 1,900 kilometres on foot in only 16 weeks.
The Hon. Melinda Pavey: How many did you do?
The Hon. TONY KELLY: About 19. They opened up some of the most fertile land on the continent. I can tell honourable members from my personal experience that the Hume and Hovell Walking Track is world class. The 440-kilometre track winds between Albury and Yass. It is superbly maintained and offers fun, recreation, rest and tranquillity along the way. It goes alongside the river that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition referred to yesterday—the Goobragandra. I show the honourable member a photograph of me and my wife which I think will equal the Hon. Henry Tsang's efforts. The track has something for everyone—from day walkers to super fit hikers; from nature lovers, like Mr Ian Cohen, to history buffs; as well as those who simply want to escape for a while. It is the largest recreational resource managed by the Department of Lands and has been maintained by the department since the track opened in 1988. The department provides some $45,000 each year to help fund maintenance and special projects along the track. In recent years this work included construction of a suspension bridge over the Tumut River and shelters at each of the seven campsites along the track.
Before the walk, I was able also to present a print of The Landing at Gallipoli to World War II returned serviceman Mr Errol Tod, who accepted it on behalf of the local community. The Government granted $2,000 towards the cost of renovating the supper room at the Lacmalac Memorial Public Hall. Termites had damaged the structure of the building and destroyed a war memorial print that had held pride of place at the hall. The Hume and Hovell Walking Track starts at Cooma Cottage on the outskirts of Yass and finishes at the Hovell Tree on the banks of the Murray River in Albury. It has three track heads—main access points—at 100-kilometre intervals. The track heads are easily accessible, and towns along the route have excellent public transport links. The seven main campsites are well equipped, and walkers can enjoy wildlife and unique flora or fish, swim, and film the sites. They can also visit points of interest, including the gold rush area of Burra Creek, the caves at Wee Jasper or the natural lookout on Mount Jergyle at Woomargama National Park.
The Hon. Duncan Gay: The Hon. Jon Jenkins wants to know if he can take four-wheel drives there?
The Hon. TONY KELLY: Four-wheel drives would not fit.
The Hon. Eric Roozendaal: What about bicycles?
The Hon. TONY KELLY: Yes, occasionally they do use mountain bikes. The Department of Lands has maps for every section of the track, plus The Hume & Hovell Walking Track Guidebook. The department also employs a full-time track co-ordinator who can help visitors with other information. I thoroughly enjoyed my time on the track, and I recommend it to anyone considering a healthy, outdoor holiday or those wishing to find out more about our past.