Not even the traditional camping site along the Murray River is safe from the greedy hands of public lands managers, Member for Northern Victoria Daniel Young said today.
He has learned that families who currently enjoy free camping at three popular Murray River camping areas would be slugged with fees, under a current proposal by the Andrews Government. Will’s Bend, Farley Bend and Stanton’s Bend were identified today as areas the government plans to ‘diversify’, so as to set up a booking system that attracts fees, Mr Young said.
Special Minister of State Gavin Jennings disclosed the sites in a written reply to a question raised in September by Mr Young, as to whether the River Red Gum Parks Draft Management Plan sought to reinstate camping fees at state parks. A member of the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, Mr Young successfully lobbied the Government in 2015 to have the state park fees at basic camping sites scrapped.
“It now appears that the Andrews Government will be walking away from that policy, after it waffled on assurances it wouldn’t,” Mr Young said.
“In September, Minister Jennings assured me the Andrews Government had no intention of ‘preventing people from being able to get access to the park system’.
“But in his written response today, the minister stated that there is a proposal to establish fees at basic sites recognised as being popular holiday spots for families. The minister then states the fees would allow for ‘greater amenity’ that would ‘attract a wider range of users’.
“It sounds to me like the minister and the Andrews Government are trying to prevent access for families with costly fees, to make way for a different demographic of ‘users’.
“This is a slap in the face to the generations of hardworking families who have paid their taxes to enjoy camping at spots like Will’s Bend, Farley Bend and Stanton’s Bend and now risk being shut out.”