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Thursday, 6 March 2014
Page: 1887


Mr GILES (Scullin) (13:30): I rise in support of the proposal by Nillumbik Shire Council to extend the Diamond Creek regional trail. The existing trail is 12 kilometres long and links Diamond Creek with the main Yarra trail. It starts at Nillumbik Park and joins the main Yarra trail in Candlebark Park. The Nillumbik Trails Strategy, which was adopted by council in 2011, recommended the development of four regional trails traversing the shire. As one of these proposals, the extension of the trail will connect to the townships of Wattle Glen and Hurstbridge. This section would be an estimated eight kilometres in length. When compared to state and national averages, Nillumbik residents have high recreational participation rates with a trend toward unstructured activities such as walking, running and cycling. This is something that should be encouraged. The extension of the Diamond Creek trail is a high priority for the Nillumbik community.

I note the work of community activists such as the Friends of Nillumbik, the Creek Trail Blazers, and the Wattle Glen Residents Association; including Bill Lord, Stephanie Germancheva, Helen Legg and Bill Taylor who have done much to bring this matter to the public’s attention. They have attracted much support, including from Cadel Evans.

During the election, I spent a lot of time speaking with people from Wattle Glen and Hurstbridge. I was struck by the beauty of the area and it seemed a shame to have to drive between these communities. These sentiments were echoed in the conversations I had with people, many of whom wanted to enjoy the bucolic surrounds of the area more fully. There is a range of social, health, environment, economic, tourism and transport benefits that would flow from this extension. I urge the state and federal governments to support this worthwhile initiative.