Category 1 routes have the following characteristics:
- predominantly comprised of more productive and resilient land types
- access to reliable water.
They also meet one of the following criteria:
- demonstrated history of frequent and high-volume use
- identified by local governments to respond to increase in demand
- necessary to ensure strategic connectivity to interstate stock routes.
Productive and resilient land types are those that in their natural state:
- are dominated by perennial, palatable and productive pasture species
- have a moderate to high expected pasture density
- have soil characteristics that pose lesser erosion and salinity risks and support pasture growth
- are in a part of Queensland that experiences suitable conditions for recovery.
These land types are generally more stable and could absorb disturbances and stresses such as grazing, agriculture, fire, drought, flood, pests and diseases. They can also recover to a state similar to their natural state, rather than an altered state.
Reliable water means stock route water facilities or other waters that:
- are sited approximately 10km apart on the network
- have a groundwater or other perennial water source whose supply and quality are less likely to be impacted by total or intermittent decline or failure.
Frequent and high-volume use means that 5,000 or more head of stock use the stock route annually. The usage figure is derived from individual years, or from the average of consecutive years if annual stock numbers vary greatly because of climate impacts on pasture availability and condition.