Mountain biking is a popular sport with growing interest and I am keen to encourage this here in the Illawarra. Already popular with locals, mountain biking in our region has the opportunity to grow and expand.

With this in mind I feel it is imperative that we encourage people to do this in a safe and somewhat controlled environment.

That is why I am pleased that finally the State Government has released this strategy.

Mountain biking on our escarpment isn’t something new, however with growing demand it is vital that we look to formalise the routes not only for the safety of the riders and other users of the mountain but also to protect the environment. Demand for good trails that are clearly identified is rapidly growing and we need to be innovative and proactive in our approach to addressing this demand.

I have long supported the introduction of properly developed mountain bike trails in the Illawarra and see it as an important recreational opportunity for both locals and visitors to the region.

Of course I am very sensitive to the concerns of the local Aboriginal elders and wider indigenous community and the important role Mt Keira played and continues to play in local Aboriginal culture.

I have and will continue to insist on clear and consistent consultation with local Aboriginal elders so that the story and importance of the mountain to our aboriginal community can be shred and told to locals and visitors coming to the area. We also need to ensure we are working collaboratively with local elders to protect sensitive cultural areas.

I want to see everyone enjoy our escarpment and ensure that it is sustainable well into the future.