Keen anglers and campers will have first-time access to new picturesque campsites on Crown land along the Goulburn river, north of Melbourne.
- Six new riverfront camping areas have been opened up on Crown Land in north-east Victoria
- Another 50 sites on land licensed by farmers will be opened up by mid-late April
- Victoria’s fishing lobby group wants campers to be able to drive onto the Crown land
The detail has been a long time coming, but the Victorian government has finally named the first six sites where public access will be granted on Crown land river frontage licensed by farmers.
People can access the campsites along the Goulburn River at Seymour, Tallarook, Murchison and Molesworth from Friday.
Another 50 camping areas are expected to open up by mid-late April, just in time for the school holidays and Easter.
During a government consultation process, and protests on the steps of parliament house, farmers who pay a license fee to use and manage the land have raised concerns about public access.
Farmers were concerned people would pollute the land they used for livestock grazing with human waste and rubbish.
They also expressed concerns campers would light fires, and interfere with livestock.
But the peak body for recreational anglers, VRFish, said public land should be available for public use.
“In the future we’d like to see some vehicles gain access to some of the new ones … because we’ve got an elderly community out there,” VR Fish chairman Rob Loats said.
“[There are] a lot of people who love to drive in, and take their camping gear in, and set up a nice camp and enjoy the environment and the fishing, “
Public land for public use
Mr Loats said his group VRFish lobbied the Victorian government “extremely strongly” and would educate campers about the specific rules that apply to the new campsites.
“Access is a huge issue across Victoria for recreational fishers,”
“Every now and again you see signs go up, roads closed, sites closed to access so this is a really big issue for us … to maintain access and improve access,” Mr Loats said.
He said there were more than one million recreational fishers in Victoria.
Fishing Minister Melissa Horne said a system had been set up for landholders to report any problems.
“We’ve set up a 24-hour hotline staffed by Victorian Fishers Authority officers to report misconduct around river frontage camping, as well as continuing our work with Victoria Police to ensure everyone treats these sites with respect.” Ms Horne said.