FARMERS have been ignored in proposed regulations to govern camping on licensed water frontage, according to the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF).

VFF president Emma Germano said it was unacceptable the state government continued to ignore the fears of landholders and the farming community which would be impacted.

“There’s no stopping campers from settling in for up to 28 days as little as 100 metres from your home on licensed water frontage. It’s safe to say by then many would have overstayed their welcome,” Ms Germano said. “It’s a no-brainer that if camping is to be allowed on grazing licences, then dogs should not be allowed.

“Every livestock farmer knows the very presence of dogs will be smelt and seen by stock, causing disruption and limiting their access to water.

“We urgently need the Victorian government to take a step back and insert some common sense into the equation.”

The VFF is advocating farmers should have the right to clearly mark the boundary between private and public land to manage their property.

“Clearly, the regulation prohibiting the erection of signs needs to be clarified. It’s entirely appropriate for licence holders to put up signs requesting gates be kept shut, to indicate the border between private and public land and to identify biosecurity protocols,” Ms Germano said.

The VFF also wants to see a system of registration to improve accountability and assist farmers with biosecurity compliance.

“The Victorian Fisheries Authority have said they are creating a purpose-built app; we don’t think it’s unreasonable to ensure the app allows campers to register their stay.

“Given the level of concern from farmers on the matter, we need the option of a review process in 12 months’ time to change any regulations that clearly aren’t working,” Ms Germano said.

Speak up, they say
Meanwhile, the Victorian government and Gippsland South MP Danny O’Brien have urged affected people to have their say on the proposed regulations to govern recreation activity on Crown Land with river frontage and grazing licences.

Parliament recently passed amendments to the Land Act 1958 to remove the prohibition of camping on licensed river frontages and the government has drafted regulations for the affected areas.

These changes, which will allow for camping in appropriate areas from September 1, 2021, are open for public consultation.

Mr O’Brien encouraged all landholders to read the draft regulations and provide feedback. “We have genuine concerns about what may occur given the opportunity for camping on Crown land where farmers are undertaking their legitimate activities,” Mr O’Brien said.

“I’ve certainly been contacted by a number of licensees who have been alarmed at the prospect of biosecurity breaches, rubbish dumping, and antisocial behaviour and destruction of fences and other property to occur. The reality is, this law has now been passed, and the regulations are the best opportunity for farmers to have their say.”

For more information or to have your say, visit engage.vic.gov.au/regulated-watercourse-land-regulations, email public.land@delwp.vic.gov.au or write to Land Management Policy Division, DELWP, PO Box 500, East Melbourne VIC 8002.