River frontage licence holders kept in the background
River frontage licence holders and Landcare groups have been put to the bottom of the list during the State Labor Governments consultation process in regard to camping on licenced water frontages.
In parliament last year, State Liberal Member for Eildon, Cindy McLeish called on the Minister for Environment to provide direct consultation with landowners and Landcare groups w
hen developing regulations so they can share their knowledge and raise concerns.
Instead, The Minister has advised the regulations will be developed by The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), together with Victorian Fishing Authority (VFA). DELWP and VFA have already initiated conversations with Victorian Traditional Owner groups.
Ms McLeish said, “Many farmers who hold water frontage licences have raised their concerns with me about the damage campers can cause to biosecurity and far
ming biological control risks, the possible pollution to water supply with human waste and environmental concerns.
“Many licence holders have been happy to accommodate fishermen over years. We must understand that camping is a very different ballgame.”
“Licence holders and Landcare groups have not had the opportunity to directly express their professional opinion to the Minister or relevant groups. The regulations established will ultimately affect licence holders the most, yet they are being left until last in the regulations process.”
Licence holders can expect to be contacted directly in early 2021, to notify them of the changes, and invite their contribution to the development of the proposed regulations.
“I’m not holding my breath,” Ms McLeish said.
Broader public consultation is said to then be delivered through the Engage Victoria Platform and regional stakeholders’ forums.
Ms McLeish continues, “Notifying licence holders of regulations when they’ve already been developed is simply not good enough.”
“This was an opportunity to learn from experienced licence holders and incorporate their knowledge and experience on how to protect farms, stock, water supply, the surrounding environment and prevent the many risks associated with camping on licenced river frontages.”
“It is bizarre that the State Labor Government has chosen to ignore 10,000 farming families who hold water frontage licenses in Victoria,” Ms McLeish concludes.