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The New South Wales Government is facing a fight in the Upper House to pass its Rail Trails Bill, even though the Transport Minister David Campbell has promised that the state's disused rail lines will not be sold off.
The government says it introduced the bill to allow community groups to turn 3,000 kilometres of disused rail lines into bicycle paths.
Last month it buckled to public and political pressure and changed the wording of the legislation, which would have given the minister the power to close rail lines and sell them without needing parliament's permission.
Any reference to selling the land has now been removed.
There are 58 rail lines across New South Wales which have been labelled 'non-operational.' Changes to the legislation will allow 45 of them, that have been closed for 15 years or more, to be leased.
But the Greens MP Lee Rhiannon says they could be lost forever.
"Many rail lines across NSW have been left to rot by the government," she said.
"Now it's trying to make a quick buck from their demise by allowing them to be ripped up and leased for development."
The opposition is also opposed to ripping up the rail lines, saying it threatens the future of public transport options in rural and regional communities.
But the Premier Nathan Rees has this week promised that the tracks will not be ripped up without community consultation.
The state government is hoping the legislation will be passed next week - the Greens and Coalition have promised to block the bill in the Upper House.
Intense lobbying of crossbenchers is now underway to get their support.
The Shooters Party says the state government has asked to meet with them next week so it can brief them on the changes, before parliament sits.
The state government needs three crossbenchers on side for the legislation to pass.
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