The Nationals leader and Member for Murray Plains, Peter Walsh, says northern Victoria has not escaped the Andrews Labor government’s planned demolition of the individual’s right to walk their dog, take a swim or wet their line.
Mr Walsh says Daniel Andrews is on a power trip, determined to control every aspect of our lives – because he can – to the point he is planning a “bizarre concept that gives a single rock more support than a taxpaying citizen of Victoria”.
He says the government’s proposed new regulations will make it a $3698 fine for interfering with a rock.
“Don’t laugh, it’s serious. According to the proposed changes if you so much as move a rock in a designated park and/or area, it could cost you almost $4000,” Mr Walsh says.
“This is power gone rampant. With no hint of an opportunity to add to the restriction of public movement he clearly so enjoyed imposing during the pandemic, this Premier has now determined he can take away routine pleasures of day-to-day life with more penalties, more red tape, more idiocy,” he says.
“I hope someone provides a definition of a rock, as opposed to a stone, or a pebble. We may end up with a penalty scale depending on the size of the rock with which you interfere. You could get a discount for idly picking up a flat rock/stone/pebble and trying to skip it across the creek.
“But I fear if it can be proved you went into a park with the intent and malice to interfere with a rock, you could well be arrested.”
Mr Walsh says the government claims it is “committed to helping Victorians spend time together in the outdoors”.
But only, he adds, if the Andrews Labor government has imposed laws that will tell you how you will spend that time.
“And don’t for as minute be fooled. Kerang and Shepparton, for example, are on this initial list, and once the government gets away with this absurd proposition – and it will if the people of Victoria re-elect this government run amok – the next list, and then next, will soon roll out,” Mr Walsh says.
“In no time at all most people will be restricted to standing, locked out instead of down, from parks and reserves across our state,” he says.
“Dare to enter and dare to do something as spontaneously wander off the designated path and wham! That will be $924 thanks mate.
“Dare to just kick the footy with family members, or a few mates, after a barbie, and wham! That will be $1849 fine for playing sport or engaging in recreational activity without a permit.
“You can see what’s not too far down the line – a permit to leave your suburb, thought police stopping you for proof you are who you say you are and you have a permit to be walking down a street in which you do not live. Who knows what the wham will be here?”
Mr Walsh says other penalties on the horizon include $1849 for swimming without a permit, $1849 for organising a group of 30 or more to visit without a permit, $3698 fine for collecting firewood for personal use and, of course, $3698 fine for interfering with a rock.
This comes on the back of previous park changes which would ban dogs entirely from several parks.
And in an added blow, Mr Walsh says the Andrews Labor Government will ban all forms of fishing in a number of lakes and rivers across the state, hooking recreational fishers with a hefty penalty of up to $2000.