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Fees in parks

Plans by the Victorian Government to introduce camping fees would disadvantage many potential visitors to our state's national parks.

Not only do fees hurt the hip pocket nerve of traditional family campers who return every year tospots like Wilsons Prom and the Grampians, but 'bush campers' in areas like the Barmah and Alpine National Park will also feel the pinch.

The Victorian National Parks Association is determined to fight these new fees to ensure that our parks are places everyone can enjoy, not just those that can afford it.

 
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We believe the planned fees are nothing more than a cost-shifting exercise that would set a dangerous precedent of moving core funding for parks away from government.

We believe that the management of national parks should be funded from general government revenue, except where quite special services are provided.

We do not support any new fees that could undermine the right of all Victorians to enjoy their very special national parks.

In November 2013 we wrote to the Victorian Government outlining our concerns as part of a public submission process.

Points we made in our submission include:

  • One of the prime aims of the park system is to encourage people from all sections of the community to make use of parks, and to experience the great outdoors. We do not think the proposed fee structure facilitates that aim. Rather, it is likely to discourage visitation in many circumstances.
  • We believe that any benefits from the proposed changes are few, and don't outweigh the disadvantages. Generally speaking, proposals to pay for park management through a user-pays scheme usually fail to reach objectives, often taking as much to administer as they bring in in return.
  • We question the validity of many of the revenue and expenditure estimates in the RIS.

In July 2014 a revised fee structure was implemented by the Victorian Government. You can get details from the Parks Victoria website.

Photo credit: Camping at Wilsons Prom used under Creative Commons licence with thanks to Michael Hopkinssi for making it publicly available for non-commercial uses.

 

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