The Nationals Member for Murray Plains, Peter Walsh, joined hundreds of landholders from across regional Victoria on the steps of Parliament; rallying against the Andrews Labor Government’s flawed camping regulations.
Mr Walsh said the rally came just days after the Victorian Nationals passed an urgent motion at the party’s state conference condemning the Andrews Government for its policy.
“If The Nationals are elected to government next year we will amend this flawed legislation to allow landholders to opt-in to allowing camping on licensed crown water frontages,” he said.
“That means it will only occur on licensed crown water frontage where landholders actively choose to have people camp.”
Mr Walsh said this was in direct contrast to Labor; which from September 28 plans to force landholders with licensed crown water frontage to allow people to camp for up to 28 days.
He said Labor was also developing an app to show people where licensed crown water frontage exists and where unmarked roads can facilitate access to that frontage.
“In plain English or bureaucratic double speak the message is the same – the anomalies existing in the regulations were unworkable and unacceptable,” Mr Walsh added.
“Landholders are not allowed to collect firewood from Crown land reserves they hold under licence; yet campers will be able to use this land at any time – and collect and burn firewood the adjoining owner will be fined for if he or shew so much as touches a single twig,” he said.
“Not only do these changes expose landholders who face industrial manslaughter charges if there is a fatal accident to legal liability, but Labor MPs are also closing their ears to concerns about the risk of biosecurity breaches, bushfires, litter and the destruction of habitat.
“This is an unworkable plan that is nothing more than a thinly veiled excuse for opening another avenue to stage another blatant grab for votes in suburban Melbourne.
“People across the state are disgusted by the lack of consideration this government has given landholders in this decision, which was legislated long before it was ever presented for consultation.
“Labor needs to dump this ill-conceived policy and properly – and fairly – engage with landholders.”