River frontage camping ignores landholder concerns
22 April 2021
Landholders across north east Victoria continue to raise concerns about the changes to licenced river frontage regulations.
Member for Euroa and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan today met with Camillo and Kellie-Ann Giannarelli at their Seymour property to see how their quarry and grazing operations stand to be affected by the changes.
“The draft regulations raise more questions than answers,” Ms Ryan said.
“Landholders were shocked to discover that campers will have the right to remain for up to 28 days on someone’s licenced river frontage.
“Questions relating to waste management, water quality, bushfire risk, vulnerable species, biosecurity, public liability and protection of stock have not been addressed.
“On the Goulburn River particularly, the Andrews Government needs to guarantee that public access will not negatively impact on soil erosion, river bank stabilisation, native vegetation regeneration and water quality.
“I have also been contacted by people on the Mitta Mitta, the Broken and a number of smaller river frontages who all share environmental concerns.
“Currently licence holders are undertaking significant environmental rehabilitation on behalf of the state government, however if public access is not adequately managed, important restoration work could be put at risk.”
Ms Ryan said farmers are concerned that the draft regulations fail to even mention landholders or issues such as trespass and public liability.
“Allowing public access on licenced river frontages is a complex issue and frustratingly Labor has pushed through the legislation either without understanding or with willful disregard for the consequences.
“Many fear, in the absence of adequate resourcing including additional authorised officers, farmers will be left to do the policing, in effect becoming park rangers.”
Ms Ryan said while she supported public land access, any regulations must be well researched, negotiated and balanced to avoid unnecessary conflicts between interested parties and impacts on sensitive environments.
“Many landholders hold a genuine commitment to enhancing dynamic river ecosystems and it is imperative that the Andrews Government gets it right.”
Public submissions on the licenced river frontage draft regulations have been extended to Monday 26 April and can be made https://engage.vic.gov.au/regulated-watercourse-land-regulations.
Photo caption: Nationals Member for Euroa Steph Ryan MP on the Goulburn River