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Vic Parks Camping Fee Proposal

9:15:08 AM
Below is my submission. People are welcome to cut/paste/edit to form their own. Its probably not the most well worded submission but I tried to cover some of the main sticking points. I have blatantly used peoples examples, points and arguments that were posted throughout this thread to form the submission (eg Kieren's Happy Wanderer example was too good not to include) so if you see something of yours, thank you!

As an aside, I think one angle of attack (in addition to shooting down the specifics of the proposal) is to argue against the final conclusions (that the benefits outweigh the risks and park users will get a better experience). If this point is widely argued against, then the justification for the entire proposal falls flat.

9:15:33 AM

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am a regular user of a number of National Parks in Victoria and as such I wish register a formal objection to the proposed changes to Park fees in the Regulatory Impact Statement for the following reasons:

Across the board, the proposed fee increases are far beyond what would be reasonably expected to pay for an outdoor campsite. For instance, the Happy Wander in Wartook has a nonpowered site for a cost of $28 in peak periods which includes flush toilets, hot showers and swimming pool. The proposed fee increases list Mt Staplyton campsite as a “High” service level and would therefore cost $48.70 but the site only includes pit toilets, a shelter, some picnic tables and an inadequate water supply (with a side of asbestos...). At the very least the classification of these campgrounds needs to be reassessed given these gross overestimations of the value of the facilities provided.

These fees unfairly impose the cost of managing assets in the parks on overnight campers despite the assets being used by both campers and day visitors. How is it fair that a completely self sufficient bush camper has to subsidise the cost of assets (shelter, BBQ’s, toilets etc) that are predominantly, if not exclusively, used by day visitors, family groups or bus loads of tourists do not have to contribute anything?

The impact statement states that the price increases are to be used to cover the costs associated with assets and facilities in campsites and to improve these services. If this is the justification for the price increases then implementing fees for bush camping is not equitable given that bush camping does not utilise any campgrounds, roofed accommodation or assets. The unreasonable nature of this entire proposal is for instance exemplified by the Farmyard campground where there is no toilet, no facilities, no reliable source of clean drinking water, no campfires, and is a hike in only campground yet in the new proposal it would cost $19.80 per night. What exactly is a user paying for in this instance?

The implementation of these exorbitant fees would greatly discourage interstate and international visitors to the Parks. This would lead to a decrease in visitors to these regions and ultimately damage the fragile local economies.

Furthermore, many user groups will be forced to covertly camp in the Parks to avoid paying fees when they otherwise would’ve camped in the larger sites for a reasonable fee. This will lead to a decrease in expected revenue and potentially lead to increased environmental damage from too many users seeking isolated bush sites.

On a practical level there are issues of policing these fees. For instance if there are clashes between users who have paid for a campsite and users who have not, would rangers be expected to intervene and expend valuable resources in sorting out these petty matters? Rangers should be spending their time looking after the environment and not enforcing compliance. Some camping in remote bush sites, or in the Alpine National Park (eg user groups such as backcountry skiers, hikers and climbers who stay in the Alpine National Park in winter above the snowline) will be virtually impossible to regulate.

In terms of payment systems, the proposed online payment and booking system is a flawed proposal. Why would a user risk making an online booking and payment only to be unable to secure a campsite upon arrival (eg at 11pm on a Friday night)? Historically, collection boxes offer a far easier method in allowing users to pay the fees upon securing a campsites. An advantage of such collection systems is that they require no online development, maintenance or cost and would greatly improve user compliance. By comparison, the cost of the proposed online payment system is completely exorbitant.

As a frequent user of the National Parks in Victoria, I would be happy to pay for services or campsites (that I use) in which services and facilities are provided. However, the proposed fee increases are beyond reasonable, unaffordable, impractical and will not encourage compliance or an increase in visitors and therefore I am strongly opposed to these changes. In contrast to the concluding statement of the executive summary, visitors will not enjoy a better experience as users will be frustrated with having to pay such ridiculous fees for simply wishing to camp in a National Park. I argue that these changes do not outweigh the costs to society and that in consultation with user groups local communities and environmental groups, a far better management solution can be implemented that allows all users of the National parks to fairly contribute to the costs of services.
11:22:39 AM
Well summarized Sabu! A great template - I for one will be using it as a template for my own response.

8:49:32 PM
Great read, i too shall plagarise myself and change what i need. I am not sure if anyone has spoken about the fact that outdoor operators and guides may have to try and either absorb these cost's or pass them on to their clients, most probably losing further business in the future. As the licenses and costs per person have just doubled already this year, it places even more of a burden on an industry that is not a cash cow to begin with.
10:28:56 PM
My submission is in. And bumping the thread to remind people that the cutoff date is approaching.
11:48:14 AM
400+ word, single page letter written, to be sent today.

It's worth pointing out that, as anyone who has ever worked in Government would know, criticism of plans and initiatives from stakeholders is common and expected. What is actually valued is the submission of alternative options along with the predictable 'your idea sucks'. As such, my submission has focussed primarily on the fee structure, the per group of up to six aspect of it, along with a number of arguments as to why a per person per night rate (and the option of an individual annual pass for all parks) would not only be more reasonable, but would result in greater compliance. Parks have showed the ability to compromise (Araps fees) - there is reason for hope. Are any of the various bushwalking clubs encouraging feedback?
access t CliffCare
12:19:02 PM
Hi All,

Have written up a piece in order to drum up some interest to send submissions in, which is now on the CliffCare site. This has been shared via various social media so please do the same and share. Hopefully will get out to as many people as possible. Many of the important points that affect us as climbers in the various parks we use have been highlighted, making it easier to understand what is in the document. All relevant links are there also. As Kieran noted, this really is important that besides having a moan about it here, that you make it count and send it to the people who are asking for your comment. Otherwise that's all it is - just a moan. It probably wouldn't hurt to send a copy to Ryan Smith as well.


12:27:15 PM
As others have mentioned as well - send it to your local state member (as well at Ryan Smith). I got a personalised reply from mine yesterday who stated they will pass it to him on for a response which they will then forward to me. If enough people bombard Mr Smith with letters directly and indirectly through his colleagues - I'm sure he'll be forced into action.
12:41:39 PM
Not that I believe in conspiracy theories but ...

Could the fee increase be related to the proposal for private development in National Parks?

It only costs $X more to stay in a motel/hotel/B&B etc, why don't we do that instead of staying in a tent, using a smelly long-drop and no running hot or cold water?

The argument favours smaller group numbers 1, 2, or 3 people rather than larger groups, but as I said "I don't believe in conspiracy theories" ...
access t cliffcare
1:12:28 PM
On 19/11/2013 BA wrote:
>Not that I believe in conspiracy theories but ...
>Could the fee increase be related to the proposal for private development
>in National Parks?
>It only costs $X more to stay in a motel/hotel/B&B etc, why don't we do
>that instead of staying in a tent, using a smelly long-drop and no running
>hot or cold water?
>The argument favours smaller group numbers 1, 2, or 3 people rather than
>larger groups, but as I said "I don't believe in conspiracy theories" ...

Bill, this has definitely been a thought path of mine. It would certainly make sense given many of the other changes, the amount of budget cuts that PV has and continues to undergo. More private development or businesses means they could eventually get rid of the campgrounds in the park - no costs then for them to maintain. This could open up the parks for more development in other areas. I was just chatting to Glenn Tempest about this actually. It's a badly thought out and written document, convoluted and they must see that in order to implement and police it will cost more. And that's just one of the issues. So conspiracy theory - they are aware of this and the intended failure of it as a fee system, or they have people working on it who really have no idea.

Still, having said that, trying to get inside the heads of these people and work out what their bigger vision is - it's a guessing game and I still think the positive thing to do is to respond. Regardless of what their dastardly plans are, hopefully it would show that there are people that are interested in the future of the parks enough to say something. If we need to say something again...which I am sure we be it. (as she runs off with her fist pumping the air...)

2:29:39 PM
Tempting as it may be to think this is all some complex government conspiracy, government departments just don't work like that.

This is most likely the result of some kind of review of Parks Vic and revenue sources, with the recommendation being 'increase revenue from parks users'. The proposals in the RIS are likely the result of 12+ months work by a mid-level working group, reporting to a steering committee, with timeframes that haven't allowed proper consultation. With enough constructive feedback, they'll adapt their recommendations to meet the satisfaction of stakeholders. (Yes, I can talk the same language, with the occasional 'dude' thrown in for balance)

It's a bureaucratic and project management process, not a conspiracy.

2:43:03 PM
How many hats have you got Will_P?
4:17:25 PM
Just two. One black, one white.
5:17:48 PM
On 19/11/2013 Will_P wrote:
>Tempting as it may be to think this is all some complex government conspiracy,
>government departments just don't work like that.

What about the developers? They work like that and appear to have great sway over our elected politicians.
10:17:48 PM
Finally got my submission finished and off. I hate these things.

Tomorrow is the last day. If you haven't submitted, even a single sentence submission is better than nothing.
4:08:30 PM
Got mine in.

4:49:42 PM
Mine too before lunch.

Those that haven't submitted, there's 10 minutes to go and, as Kieran says, anything is better than nothing.
10:17:57 PM
Well that turned into a bit of an epic. The more I got into the RIP the more questions I had to ask of it. No mention of it in the media. Lets wait and see what happens now.
3:17:58 PM
Yeah, I also sent in a longish contribution last weekend.
I also emailed it to several MPs/Ministers.

8:26:26 PM
On 9/11/2013 ajfclark wrote:
>On 9/11/2013 access t CliffCare wrote:
>>The current price increase at various campgrounds is the usual annual
>CPI increase and not what they are talking about when they are talking
>about the camp fee increase proposal.
>Sorry Tracey, that doesn't float at Lake Catani:
>2011: $22.50
>2012: $23.00
>2013: $24.00
>2014: $31.40
>2012 was a 2% increase which is in the ballpark of CPI. 2013 was about
>4% and again in the ballpark.
>2014 is about a 31% increase. That's nowhere near CPI but it does make
>the price pretty well inline with their proposal.

Lake Catani (Mt Buffalo), was $31.40 per site last weekend. It seems 2014 has arrived early...

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There are 197 messages in this topic.


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