Vic govt considering major fee increases for park camping

Submitted: Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 16:42
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The Victorian government has released a regulatory impact statement about it's proposal to increase fees for camping in parks and reserves. This is in line with it's policy of "user pays" for everything (what are taxes for then?). Somewhere like the Grampians NP could see fees increase from $32 per night to $50 per night for each site. Even locations with minimal services (toilet only) could see fees increase from $22 to $38 per night per site.

They are accepting comments on the statement and proposed fee increases until 22nd November.
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Reply By: SDG - Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 16:48

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 16:48
I have seen caravan parks at similar prices to those, and they have ammenities.
Sounds like the Government want people out of the NP's, and into caravan parks.
AnswerID: 520253

Follow Up By: Ozhumvee - Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 17:14

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 17:14
Yep if you charge unreasonable fees then the "customers" who also happen to be the "owners" will stay away in droves.
Peter
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Follow Up By: Hilux fan - Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 17:23

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 17:23
The government is applying this policy in all areas. Some permits have had fee increases of over 1000%. For example, most volunteer wildlife refuges will probably be priced out of doing what they do with permit fees now in the thousands of dollars.
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Follow Up By: member - mazcan - Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 18:37

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 18:37
hi
w.a had an increase in fees earlier this year where there is camping/ parking and water/ toilet /bins/they make the travelling public pay as you go
it was bound to happen everywhere
they know a large number of cashed up 'n' retired are living on the road ways and this is a way of biting them
I was also informed the other day that all the caravan park fees in w.a are going up before xmas
nothing surer than fees /taxes and death
those that can afford it will pay and continue
but it will make it more difficult for those who are just scraping through on their budget holiday and have looked forward to the travelling life style and the big lap
cheers
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Reply By: Bazooka - Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 17:49

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 17:49
Ah the old IT support attitude - blinkin' users are just an annoyance to be discouraged at any cost. A cynic might suggest they're happy to keep people out of parks, the end game being that they can then lease them out to hunters and eventually use the lack of patronage as an excuse to get rid of parks altogether. Seriously though they will simply encourage people to avoid fees wherever possible and make park camping an activity for the well-off.

What are taxes for? Exactly, but politicians will always take the line of least resistance. Upsetting a few thousand NP campers is something they'll wear and no prizes for guessing who will cop the backlash. No-one should grumble about making small additional contributions but those proposed fees are WAY over the top. Having sold off lottery rights (along with pretty much every saleable public asset) they can't even fund such needs by cashing in on a general concessionary spend.
AnswerID: 520254

Follow Up By: Bazooka - Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 19:24

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 19:24
Option 3 below is the recommended new pricing and "It is important to note that the fees outlined in this RIS are for the year 2013-14. Fees in subsequent years would be higher. In particular, the Minister has the authority to increase fees on an annual basis in accordance with the Treasurer’s rate without undertaking another RIS. Increases higher than the Treasurer’s rate which are needed to ensure fees are consistent with general price inflation and continue to achieve full revenue yield recovery would require the Treasurer’s approval."

This is the "best" bit in the RIS and the last sentence could fairly be described as complete hogwash:

"As mentioned earlier, the increased costs of camping fee impacts primarily on individual consumers of camping product. By bringing the cost of publically provided camping into alignment with market prices, the level of competition is expected to increase."

This is a perversion of the idea of competition (as well as contrary to the concept of affordable access to NPs) and is basically Hobson's choice - that is, if all the options have similar high prices customers actually have no choice at all.


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Follow Up By: Bazooka - Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 19:27

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 19:27
The image did not display in the previous post despite showing in the preview so I'm trying again. What a pita.

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Follow Up By: Bazooka - Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 19:28

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 19:28
Okay I give up.
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Reply By: Gronk - Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 18:25

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 18:25
I avoid paying in nat parks now......this will only make me more determined....

I can't work out how you don't pay in a state forest ( with toilets ), but need to pay in a nat park ??

Now, everyone knows the camping fees go straight to the government coffers, so the old thing about fees paying for improvements to a camp site is rubbish...fees wouldn't even pay for a small percentage of workers wages !!
AnswerID: 520257

Reply By: racinrob - Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 18:49

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 18:49
I live next to a NP in NSW where the fees are:
Park entry fee $11
Camping fee per adult per night $14
" " " child " " $7

So for mum and dad and two ankle biters you're looking at $53 a night, no power, no laundry, no BBQs, basic showers and toilets, any wonder more and more campers are "free camping" ?


rob
AnswerID: 520258

Follow Up By: SDG - Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 18:55

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 18:55
Are pensioners still free? Been a while since I camped in a NP.
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Follow Up By: racinrob - Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 21:19

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 21:19
Pensioners, I'm one, don't pay the Park entry fee.

Rob
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Reply By: Steve M1 (NSW) - Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 18:53

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 18:53
That's what happens when you sell off the farm - gotta make a dollar somewhere to pay all those beaurocrats that we so desperately need.

Economy on the bones of it's ar$e so not much in the way of taxes despite record numbers of ATO auditors in action, speed traps on the roads and now hit the leisure industry and anything else they can get their grubby hands on.
AnswerID: 520259

Reply By: Robin Miller - Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 19:01

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 19:01
If everyone could at least send a dissapproving note to the nominated email address then this would help.


camping.RIS@depi.vic.gov.au
Robin Miller

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Follow Up By: Krooznalong - Thursday, Oct 24, 2013 at 14:29

Thursday, Oct 24, 2013 at 14:29
Email sent.
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Thursday, Oct 24, 2013 at 16:08

Thursday, Oct 24, 2013 at 16:08
Sent and spreading the word as much as possible.

$38.90 a night for a drop toilet site, who are they kidding. The Inverloch caravan park charges less than that.

The fees are outrageous.
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Reply By: Member - Des Lexic - Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 19:17

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 19:17
We pulled into a camp ground at Timber Creek a couple of years ago and promptly paid our camp fees at $10/vehicle and set up camp.
Shortly afterwards, two vehicles of European backpackers pulled up, set up camp and didn't go near the honesty box. Pulled out next morning and still no fees paid. Spoke to the Ranger and his said it is not worth pursuing them as it will cost more than the fee payable. That gets passed around their networks and leaves us dummies to do the right thing. Little wonder that we are funding the cheap holidays.
Maybe we should do the same thing. Trouble is that we have a strong sense of right and wrong and do the right thing. Grumble over now.
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Follow Up By: philw - Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 20:25

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 20:25
When anything becomes popular,it either increases in price,or is taxed.
Welcome to today's Australia.
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Reply By: Member - Bruce and Di T (SA) - Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 20:26

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 20:26
Our view has always been that National Parks are for the people who run them, not the general public who are forced to pay the fees. We believe the Policy is, 'We don't want you in our National Parks.' It's a shame because they belong to us.

Di
AnswerID: 520263

Reply By: Stevesub1 - Thursday, Oct 24, 2013 at 07:28

Thursday, Oct 24, 2013 at 07:28
We used to use National Parks for camping in QLD a lot when the old honesty box system was working, and we always paid up. Now you have to Pre-book via phone or internet for a site. Not good when you are on the road, your phone has not worked for days and you don't care, you do not know where you are staying until the last minute - all too hard.

We stay anywhere but National Parks in QLD now.

Easier for the Parks people to get their money with the new system, but much much harder for those supplying the money.

As for the new fees in VIC, looks like we will be avoiding their parks when we come through next year. All too expensive and we may as well stay in campgrounds which in QLD are generally cheaper than what the parks are charging. Next weekend we are paying $23 a night, last camp was $25 a night and these are full service camping grounds with bush camping. Last one even supplied the cut firewood, camp ovens for us to use, etc.
AnswerID: 520275

Follow Up By: Hilux fan - Thursday, Oct 24, 2013 at 08:23

Thursday, Oct 24, 2013 at 08:23
I suspect that the long term aim of this Liberal government is to farm out functions such as providing camping in National Parks to the private sector. They're already keen to flog off areas of park for high end accommodation, so I don't see why they wouldn't sell off the cheap option as well. I can see that this will only lead to an increase in guerrilla camping away from the official sites.
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Reply By: Member - wicket - Thursday, Oct 24, 2013 at 10:01

Thursday, Oct 24, 2013 at 10:01
Perhaps we should all contact the new Motoring Enthusiasts Party senator, he does drive a 4x4 and loves camping.
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Follow Up By: Nutta - Thursday, Oct 24, 2013 at 20:04

Thursday, Oct 24, 2013 at 20:04
Youre right actually, theyre the only ones that mey be able to help!
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Follow Up By: Bazooka - Saturday, Oct 26, 2013 at 19:28

Saturday, Oct 26, 2013 at 19:28
It's a state issue. He'd have no influence with the state Liberal govt whatsoever.
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Reply By: Gnomey - Thursday, Oct 24, 2013 at 10:47

Thursday, Oct 24, 2013 at 10:47
I had a quick look at the RIS and a longer look at the executive summary. Strikes me also this is all about revenue generation on the back of a "user-pays" (twice) ideology. The neo liberal ideology is founded on the assumption most bluntly stated by Maggie Thatcher, that we live in an economy and not a society.

All the rest, including vague noises about rejuvenation of facilities is just blather. Unless the fees are hypothecated, (available only for camp grounds) the money will, as others have said, just disappear into the bowels of consolidated revenue never to be seen again.

Do I feel moved to write in protest? Sadly, perhaps, no I don't. I've been camping for around 50 years. Camping in NPs has been an experience of diminishing returns for me for about half that time. Too much pressure. Too many noisy people with no manners because they have no sense of place. They come only to consume the amenity. Worst cases are coastal parks. Except for an occasional visit to inland NPs in the off season I have resolved to steer clear of them.

For some years now I've preferred a track off a track off a track even if the destination has little aesthetic attraction. It will have peace, the most important amenity imho.

Cheers
Mark
AnswerID: 520286

Reply By: Tjukayirla Roadhouse - Thursday, Oct 24, 2013 at 14:55

Thursday, Oct 24, 2013 at 14:55
" The Victorian government has released a regulatory impact statement about it's proposal to increase fees for camping in parks and reserves. This is in line with it's policy of "user pays" for everything (what are taxes for then?). Somewhere like the Grampians NP could see fees increase from $32 per night to $50 per night for each site. Even locations with minimal services (toilet only) could see fees increase from $22 to $38 per night per site." ..

Wow, with fees like that for basic NP camping, even before the price rise, I'm quite surprised that so many travellers complain about prices around the rest of the country.

;-)

Al
AnswerID: 520294

Reply By: Fiona & Paul - Saturday, Oct 26, 2013 at 11:49

Saturday, Oct 26, 2013 at 11:49
I guess that's another good reason to stay away from Victoria, I'll be adding my name to the list of protesters and negative responders.

Regards
Paul H
Paul H
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AnswerID: 520366

Reply By: Member - James B7 - Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013 at 20:54

Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013 at 20:54
This issue has started appearing on a few other websites too. Similar to here, people are commenting on the extent of the rises, among other issues. Not surprisingly, many indicating that they would not be visiting Victorian parks after these rises and some changing travel plans to skip Victoria as part of longer road trips.

In looking closer at the RIS some of the information appears a wee bit skewed. For example, when comparing camping fees between states the RIS lumps one-off park entry fees with camping fees to come up with a camping night comparison. I don't know about you but I rarely go to a national park for just one night. Average the fees across a week and the comparison and the gap suddenly widens between Victoria and the other states with an entry fee.

Another issue I found with base data stood out when I looked a bit closer at the survey data cites a few times in the report. The report contains information only about three of the five survey response options that people responding to the survey would have had available to them. The missing information just happens to be the categories "disagree" and "don't know" (neutral). Survey responses were expressed as percentages. Nine of the 21 rows add up to more than 100% (the highest coming to 130%). Leaves me wondering about the reliability of some of the other hard data in the RIS.

Looking at the $ involved it doesn't take too long to work out that if you had been intending to spend a month in National Parks in Victoria the price hikes makes traveling to interstate parks a lot more attractive. When I ran the numbers for few of the parks I visit, in Vic, SA and NT and put this into the context of a month's holiday in national parks, I found not staying in Victoria for the month would give me around $600 (nearly $700 in a flat comparison between Vic & NT) in savings to offset the diesel to go interstate. Might be worth running your figures too and see what it would mean for you.

I don't mind having fees to stay in national parks, but I think my view of reasonable and the RIS view of reasonable are more than a little different. Luckily I control the steering wheel of the car and don't mind a decent drive to get to where I can appreciate the place I camp without feeling exploited when I get there.

I will provide feedback on the RIS. For me to do otherwise would be to provide tacit agreement to the proposal as it stands.

Great to see others intending to give feedback too.

James Boyce
AnswerID: 520592

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