Rural Councils Victoria has written to the state government outlining the serious reasons that rural councils cannot support changes to the state’s land regulations that would allow access to rivers via private farmland and camping for up to 28 days.
The regulations are due to take effect from 1 September 2021. RCV has told the government that the proposed regulations do not adequately protect the environment, farm biosecurity, landholder privacy and public safety.
RCV is calling for a review of the proposed regulations.
RCV Chair, Cr Mary-Ann Brown said:
“While applauding the government’s aim of helping Victorians spend time together in the outdoors, RCV is not in a position to support the proposed regulations in their current form.
“RCV 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.
“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.”