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Vic Parks Camping Fee Proposal
One Day Hero
1:45:12 PM
Do you have any idea how expensive camping would have to be to support someone sitting at Stapylton on 50 grand a year?

1:47:28 PM
I'd stop thinking about Stapylton altogether if I were you. Down that road lies unhappiness... Before they can find money for a host they have to find the money to clean the site up.
One Day Hero
1:48:58 PM
I'd stop thinking down the campground host road. Unless there's an underclass to be exploited, it is seriously unaffordable

1:49:41 PM
It works at the Buffalo campsite. Usually these positions are volunteer - or semi volunteer. The host only needs to be around for a couple of hours in the morning and evening. In the middle of the day they can do whatever they want. It sounds cheaper than the $x-million they are planning to spend on an online camp fee system and having to get a real (paid) ranger to check it.

Someone should just open a private climbers campsite.

1:55:33 PM
On 28/10/2013 One Day Hero wrote:
>I'd stop thinking down the campground host road. Unless there's an underclass
>to be exploited, it is seriously unaffordable

In Australia we have a great history of volunteers - from beach lifeguards, rural fire brigades, bush care, Red Cross. There would be plenty of retirees who would love to camp at a spot like this for a couple of weeks.

In NZ - the major hiking huts are all 'staffed' by volunteers - who collect fees and manage the mountain radios and weather reports. They are usually young uni guys/gals who are happy to volunteer a few weeks in the mountains/bush. Many of them have some sort of scientific background and have little projects they are working on in the middle of the day.
2:09:31 PM
I've encountered campground hosts as some sites in WA, even quite remote ones. I don't think they get paid but do get supplies etc. The ones I met were semi-retired people interested in spending time outdoors, naturalists, bird-watchers, painters, that sort of thing.
I think the good ones enhance the experience of their campgrounds but I don't think that they are relevant to this discussion.
First, they seem to be in short supply and high demand.
Second, the number of camping areas that are going to be charged for is going to explode.
So, adopting hosts as a revenue-raising strategy is not going to be effective. Those who don't want to pay, will move someplace else.
2:14:54 PM
On 28/10/2013 ajfclark wrote:
>Re online bookings and compliance,the major reasons I've heard from people
>for not paying for a site at Stapylton are:
>1) I didn't know there were fees
>2) I don't know how to pay them/I couldn't find anything online
>3) I tried to pay but there's no phone reception at Stapylton and I'm
>not going to pay unless I know I have a site
Pardon me for being cynical about these excuses. How old are these people? I might accept these from someone in their sixties but from young people who developed RSI in their SMS thumbs before they were out of nappies? Fail!

2:16:34 PM
On 28/10/2013 nmonteith wrote:
> It sounds cheaper than the $x-million they are planning to
>spend on an online camp fee system and having to get a real (paid) ranger
>to check it.

Want to by a fat juicy govt contract..seriously should cost no where near that much to develop an online system and if setup right not much more work for said ranger to drive around spot checking people are complying while he does other stuff.

2:42:22 PM
On 28/10/2013 kieranl wrote:
>Pardon me for being cynical about these excuses. How old are these people? I might accept these from someone in their sixties but from young people who developed RSI in their SMS thumbs before they were out of nappies?

Well, here's my experience of paying at Stapylton:

Having previously only camped at Arapiles and Mount Buffalo (both of which were clearly signed as to how much it cost and how to pay) the first time I rocked up to Stapylton I didn't see a single sign about how much it cost or that it cost anything at all so I assumed/hoped it was free. Perhaps I was blind?

Some time (and several visits) later I saw a piece of paper stapled to the back of a toilet door and when I tried to call the number listed on it I had no service (Optarse).

Eventually I got myself organised and called them from elsewhere in the park.

I would've paid earlier if they had signs that clearly stated the fees rather than pieces of paper that obviously go missing from the toilets.

Things would've been further helped by using a website to pay rather than a person to call during certain hours. Even with a shaky connection, getting something like parkstay to load on a phone is been possible when talking to someone isn't, let alone the fact a lot of people don't want to pay for a site until they get to the campground at 10pm on a Friday night.

I haven't camped there for quite a while now so hopefully the payment systems and signage have improved.
2:56:13 PM
Perhaps I'm too harsh.
If I had to make a guess, I would say that the present Stapylton campground will be too expensive to cleanup and will be closed and a new location found.
3:16:34 PM
This is getting a little out of whack isn't it?

I have no issue with paying a fee to support the incremental costs of my visit to a camping area. However I do object to paying taxes to maintain our parks and then having a user-pays arrangement which covers more than just the expendables.

The incremental costs at, say Stapylton, are the cost of toilet paper plus an occasional pumping out. I'd be guessing, but maybe $3?

Let's look at the cost justification in a different light. A house can be found relatively cheaply in the Grampians at present, you can pick something up for, oh, let's say $300,000.

Assuming you were fully expensing the cost at 5% mortgage rates at present, that'll cost you $15k in interest a year. Add, say, 4k for rates and power (?), the house will cost you around $365 a week, or about $52 a night. For a whole house. Light, power, cooking, and a flushing toilet, and rubbish collection.

And you can camp in the backyard for free ;-)
3:22:07 PM
Granted, but it is a serious proposal with a start-date of March next year so people need to think about some serious representations : saying "this is bollocks" won't cut it.
Mike Bee
4:21:07 PM
To me the main issue here (as I posted in the other now defunct thread about this topic) is that day users aren't charged anything.

So suddenly the plan is to charge overnight users for all the maintenance of the parks, even though by proportion, we'd log possibly at most half the number of total visitor days in the park.

The idea of free entry to the parks is great, but simply trying to regain lost revenue by jacking up the camping costs is short sighted and somewhat greedy.

I wonder if real issue here is that the Vic Gov decreed free parks entry, National Park Service went "oh shit, please don't, we need the money", the govt went through with it anyway.
Now, given that National Parks can't reintroduce day use fees (they can't override an act of the govt), the only option left to them to increase their revenue is these proposed camp fee increases. Does that sound like a possibility?
4:33:50 PM
The vast majority of parks didn't have entry fees anyway so I don't know that this theory holds water.
There's not a lot to be gained by speculating as to who argued what in the back-rooms.
The equity issue is important, and it's made a big play of in the proposal.
It is worth pointing out to them that proposing that the fees cover the cost of roads and tracks doesn't necessarily fairly reflect who uses those facilities. Likewise the toilets at many camping areas (think buandik and Stapylton, say) are heavily used by day visitors so apportioning all of those costs to campers is not equitable.

10:07:09 PM
I'm heading to the Grampians next week. I just bought a $19 foldout camping table from Kmart. Problem solved. I'm going bush....

10:11:40 PM
Even bush camping will cost money under this plan...

10:17:13 PM
On 28/10/2013 ajfclark wrote:
>Even bush camping will cost money under this plan...

And that's truly bizarre.
12:02:52 AM
Maybe I'm the old fashioned one here, but what's wrong with collection boxes???? They are by far the easiest way to actually pay for camping. If it's a matter of putting a few dollars in an envelop and lobbing it in a box when you turn up, I would imagine more people pay. Certainly I was thoroughly unimpressed that you couldn't do that at Frog any more, plus they have crappy phone reception in the campground, not to mention the worst online booking system I think i have ever used.
9:02:43 AM
On 28/10/2013 Sabu wrote:
>On 28/10/2013 ajfclark wrote:
>>Even bush camping will cost money under this plan...
>And that's truly bizarre.

This is the section under the act that governs the issuing of permits for camping.

"(1) Subject to this Act, the Secretary may, in respect of a park-

(a) grant to a person a permit to occupy a building, camping place or
other facility erected set apart or provided in the park for such
period not exceeding six weeks"

Here's one for the lawyers : if you're bush camping and sleeping in a bivvy bag, are you snared by this section? Bush camping may be allowed but has the bush camping place been "set apart or provided"? If you're in a bivvy bag you haven't erected a "facility". I suspect Parks would argue that allowing bush camping is "providing" a camping place.
9:09:15 AM
On 28/10/2013 Sabu wrote:
>On 28/10/2013 ajfclark wrote:
>>Even bush camping will cost money under this plan...
>And that's truly bizarre.

Here's how they justify the camping charges in the Executive Summary conclusion :

“The increased revenue generated under the preferred option will allow campgrounds and roofed accommodation in parks to be managed sustainably so that future generations can continue to access and enjoy Victoria’s magnificent parks. Assets associated with these facilities and services will be revitalised, rejuvenated and renewed and better facilities and services will be provided. Visitors will enjoy a better experience and land managers will be able to appropriately manage the natural assets that underpin these areas."

You could submit that, if this is the justification for charging that charging for bush camping is not equitable. Bush camping does not utilise campgrounds or roofed accommodation so the sites do not require management beyond normal visitor use. and there are no assets associated with bush camping that are specifically managed for that purpose.

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