Stock routes

About the Queensland stock route network

Stock routes have no separate title or tenure from the underlying road reserve, and the same roads are used for walking and agisting stock and vehicular transport. Reserves for travelling stock include camping and water reserves, pasture reserves and trucking reserves.

The network is primarily used by the pastoral industry:

  • as an alternative to transporting stock by rail or road
  • for pasture for emergency agistment
  • for long-term grazing.

A stock route can be a road that is declared to be a stock route under Queensland legislation, or it may simply be any route that has customarily been used for walking stock.

Current management arrangements

We manage the stock route network with local governments under the Stock Route Management Act 2002. Some grazing access is administered under the Land Act 1994, while the Transport Infrastructure Act 1994 and the Stock Act 1915 also include relevant provisions.

On 1 July 2016, a new Biosecurity Act 2014 commenced, which affected the legislative arrangements for managing Queensland’s stock route network.

This new act resulted in a new name for the stock route legislation: the Stock Route Management Act (previously the Land Protection (Pest and Stock Route Management) Act 2002).

The Stock Route Management Act does not contain any new elements but retains existing legislation governing the management of Queensland’s stock routes.

For further information regarding the Biosecurity Act, visit the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries website.

Local governments are responsible for:

  • day-to-day administration and management
  • some network maintenance.

We are responsible for:

  • providing policy and legislative advice
  • operational guidelines
  • compliance support
  • reviewing decision
  • managing asset maintenance
  • training local government stock route officers.

Management strategy

The Queensland stock route network management strategy (PDF, 865.4KB) provides a framework for managing stock route activities and allocating available resources.

Key stakeholders are consulted to identify ways of improving network management, operation and administration.

Stock route network management plans

Twenty-four local governments in central and western Queensland are required to have local management plans for their area of the stock route network. Contact the relevant local government listed below to view a copy of their plan.

Queensland stock route network map

Download the Queensland stock route network map (PDF, 1.7MB).


Stock routes have been part of Queensland's rural history for more than 150 years, evolving as settlers drove stock along corridors that followed river systems, Indigenous trade routes and trails.

Between the 1860s and 1890s, established stock routes were recognised and dedicated as roads. Use declined in the 1950s and 1960s when road improvements made road transport more convenient and efficient.

Recently, increases in fuel prices and continuing drought have made the stock route network a cost-effective alternative for moving stock and a vital source of pasture for emergency grazing.

Cultural heritage

The stock route network contains significant cultural heritage and has been celebrated in the works of Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson. The Combo Waterhole at Winton is thought to be the location of the story that inspired Waltzing Matilda.

Environmental value

The stock route network has significant environmental value, in part because its unique interconnectedness and geographical extent allows for the movement of wildlife.

Many stock routes are in highly cleared landscapes and are adjacent to waterways, providing habitat for threatened species.

In this guide:

  1. About the Queensland stock route network
  2. Stock route travel permits
  3. Grazing (agistment) permits for travelling stock
  4. Review of local government decisions
  5. Stock route water facility agreements
  6. Stock Route Management System (SRMS)

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