With the advent of the drought it became apparent that there is not a lot of knowledge out there within councils – and even to some degree within the Local Land Services – of the various rights of stock owners to graze stock on the roadside. The drought has certainly highlighted this problem, with many farms running out of feed and requiring the grass that is available on the roadsides for the mere existence of their stock.
Junee Shire Council was faced with the problem of large numbers of stock grazing on the roadside and the question was asked: “What is the liability situation if there is an accident caused by the grazing of stock?”.
As we all know, the Council is the responsible road authority for all public roads, including the road reserve to the boundary fences on either side. The exception to this, of course, is the freeways and tollways around the state. Even with regard to state roads, the local council is still the authority for the roadside – from that arbitrary line where the Roads & Traffic Authority (RTA) control the road (somewhere around the table drain) out to the boundary fence.
To solve the problem in Junee Shire, it was decided that Council would meet with the two Local Land Services that operate within the shire – namely Wagga Wagga LLC and Gundagai LLC. From this meeting a policy was derived to help set the scene for roadside grazing to be conducted in the safest possible manner.
“A member of the public is entitled, as a right, to pass along a public road (whether on foot, in a vehicle or otherwise) and to drive stock or other animals along the public road.”