Rural Councils Victoria concerned about camping regulations

Litter discarded at Marlay Point by campers earlier this year. Nick Gannon, who took the photo, said following a previous incident at the same camping spot some time ago, he had filled the back of ute with rubbish.
Litter discarded at Marlay Point by campers earlier this year. Nick Gannon, who took the photo, said following a previous incident at the same camping spot some time ago, he had filled the back of ute with rubbish.

RURAL Councils Victoria has joined the growing opposition to proposed camping regulations that will allow public access to licensed river frontage.

It has written to the state government outlining why rural councils can't support changes to the state's land regulations that would allow access to rivers via private farmland and camping for up to 28 days.

It is calling for a review of the proposed regulations.

The Victorian Farmers Federation is also calling for a review of the proposal, and has suggested a registration system be included to give protection and security to land holders.

The regulations are due to take effect from September 1, but the Rural Councils Victoria has told the government that the proposed regulations do not adequately protect the environment, farm biosecurity, landholder privacy and public safety.

The organisation's chairman, Mary-Ann Brown, said while applauding the government's aim of helping Victorians spend time together in the outdoors, Rural Councils Victoria could not support the proposed regulations in their current form.

"Rural Councils Victoria is opposed to the changes for variety of very serious reasons, including biohazards, faeces in rivers and soil, bushfires, danger to the lives of emergency services workers and the risk to the lives of campers themselves," Ms Brown said.

"Rural Victoria has many fabulous destinations, including many fine parks, caravan parks and existing Crown Land camping areas that have many or all of the necessary amenities, but may be in need of resourcing and repair.

"With proper maintenance and funding, these sites could be rendered broadly safe, and would be used more frequently.

"These sites would be known to emergency services as locations for campers and other holiday makers.

"Safety - for the public, landholders, wildlife, pets and those in fire-prone areas - are the key reasons to encourage the use of these camping sites rather than river frontages on private land, which are not fit for purpose, often hazardous, hard or impossible for emergency services to access and potentially the source of introduced dangers such as fire, biohazards and waste.

"Rural Councils Victoria believes that a review of the regulations should be carried out no later than 12 months after the regulations come into effect; that the review should include genuine community consultation.

"The regulations as they stand do not adequately protect the environment, farm biosecurity, landholder privacy and public safety."

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