Major battle brews over Crown land camping plan

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Camping on crown Land in Victoria
Coming soon? More riverside camping may be allowed in Victoria . PIC: Schimmel Travel

A battle is looming in Victoria over a state government plan to allow camping on almost 30,000 kilometres of Crown land with river frontages.

The legislation to amend the Land Act to permit camping on Crown land adjacent to waterways is currently before the Upper House, but farmers are not happy. The plan is part of a Government initiative to encourage more people to use outdoor resources

Victoria has 170,000km of water frontage, with much of it being private land, reserves, parks or state forests, and about 30,000km of this being Crown water frontage. This land is licensed to the occupier of the adjoining land, with access to it currently largely unrestricted for recreational use, other than camping.

However, the Gippsland Times reports that irrigators and farmers whose properties abut waterways are outraged by the allow-camping proposal. They say it will create a biosecurity risk and leave them unable to stop unsociable behaviour on their land.

The chairperson of the Latrobe River Irrigators, Angus Zilm, said the legislation would negatively affect many farmers in Latrobe and the Wellington Shire.

“If this was allowed, who is to say what any Joe Blow will be doing down by the river … it doesn’t make any sense,” he told the Gippsland Times. “There’s plenty of better places around here that people could go camping – the Swing Bridge in Sale for example – and other lovely places that would be more suitable.”

Victorian Farmers Federation president David Jochinke said the changes could result in the ‘stewardship’ shown by farmers to protect the land and maintain good biosecurity being lost.

“This legislation is akin to letting people camp on someone’s nature strip,” he said.

Mr Jochike told the Gippsland Times that the Farmers Federation was concerned that the law would encourage anti-social behaviour on farming land.

“I can’t see these campers bringing their own firewood,” he said. “There’s always bad apples in any group and we’ve heard of people’s pumps being broken and sheds being used as toilets.”

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17 Responses to Major battle brews over Crown land camping plan

  1. It works fine around Sunraysia, (Mildura) and always has, no problems

  2. Methinks main opposition will come from those with interests in diverting tourist dollars to their pockets, caravan/tourist parks for instance. They seem to have undue influence on this type of proposals.

  3. I must say that I was surprised to see this initiated by the Victorian govmint considering Dictator Dan’s recent restrictive behaviour.

    If more land is made available for camping, then that would certainly alleviate the current overcrowding that exists in many areas, particularly during peak times.

    Whilst I appreciate the farmers’ concerns who lease the land regarding ant-social behaviour, they must realise that they are leasing PUBLIC land and denying us, the unwashed rabble, access to ‘their’ private river frontage.

    It reminds me of the affluent (or is that spelt effluent?) land owners that backed onto the Surfers Paradise beach who several years ago slowly but surely extended their properties by landscaping and fencing onto the beach and then claimed it as their own and denying access to the public.

    The farmer does not need miles and miles of river frontage. If he needs to, and is allowed to pump out water, then that is easily fenced off. Pumping stations seem to work well in areas that I visit, a good example is the campground on the Lachlan River near Cowra that has several pumping stations operating.

    Cattle and campers can co-exist as well. A good example is the Cangai Campground on the Mann River where they’re happy to slobber all over you given half a chance.

    • Dictator Dan is the premier of Victoria duly elected with a 75% property have some respect for the man who is no regarded as the man who was able to control covid to the benefit of his constituents. Have some respect.

      • Hear Hear!

      • WRONG !! Dan Andrews is the classic ” HUBRIS ” and his Action are clear proof of this
        Hubris is the characteristic of excessive confidence or arrogance, which leads a person to believe that he or she may do no wrong. … Hubris can cause short-sighted, irrational, or harmful behavior since the person does not stop to examine their behavior or consider the opinions of or effects on others .

    • Do you own the property you live in and if not would you be happy to have the public coming in and trashing the house beside your own personal property. Same thing as you expect farmers to do with riff raff trashing property that they lease and possibly damaging their own property cattle that need to be kept safe because of bio security laws.

  4. I wonder if this is meant to alleviate the next housing crisis?

  5. i fully support the idea

  6. Legally farmers have LICENCES Not LEASES . Leases give exclusive possession whereas Licences do not. Licences are a right to use for a particular purpose. If the farmers are unhappy then fence the Crown land frontage out from their properties

  7. We’ve had campers cut fences and let stock onto the main road (one horse was killed and a truck totalled in one instance). We’ve also had people leave dirty nappies, broken glass, bags of rubbish and tangled fishing line when we allowed access, and people using the main pumpshed (that we use to supply the houses on the farm) as a toilet. We have had more bad experiences than good over the years, including people bringing dogs that have killed stock. So no, use the camping grounds in national and state parks that have toilet facilities, bins and designated fire pits.

  8. From my experience, and I am sure a lot of people will agree, there are a lot of irresponsible people out there who, given access to such areas will eventually spoil it for all concerned. You can put all kinds of restrictions on these areas but who is going to police this? Certainly not the farmer, it’s not his job and he has a lot to worry about as it is. I am sure that there are lot of other places that could be opened up. Also, it’s time that we followed our brothers from across the ditch and made a lot more areas “Self Contained Only” Yes, we humans have some bad habits that could be improved on.

    • Totally support, Naomi, Jeff, and Ross, in their comments, more thought must go into this to stop the undomesticated from causing envoirmental damage to these areas, Maybe a Govt Dept with deputised Rangers travelling through this area to protect ALL inhabitants.

  9. Install toilets, garbage bins first, otherwise it’ll end up like a garbage dump. I’d be happy to help out the farmers any day of the week, they don’t need irresponsible people damaging there property.

  10. I love camping and getting out in the outdoors but don’t believe this is a good idea. Majority of the areas that make up these numbers are creeks etc within farms that should be fenced off to keep cattle out to begin with and designated conservation areas. Have a good hard look anywhere you go to a river/creek that has unimpeded access for camping etc and it’s usually devastated by ferals that have little to no respect for nature compared to places that are fenced off and have designated camp grounds. I’ve witnessed Kmart cowboys cut down green trees and put LPG cylinders on their camp fire for fun, these types should be banned from leaving the sh#ity. Since European settlement the devastation across this country has been relentless.

  11. I’m tipping alot of people that agree with this are no doubt not farm owners near watervways or state or National forest.
    I see rubbish left in so many places , toilet paper, bottles and cans left in the fire ,
    Rubbish etc ends up blowing into your paddocks getting into feed or cattle eating it .
    Shouldn’t be allowed.

  12. Surely there would be suitable strategies implemented to ensure the camping sites are used responsibly ie Rangers etc?

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