News: NT Camping and Hiking Fees to Increase from 1 July

Submitted: Friday, Mar 05, 2021 at 13:55
ThreadID: 141195 Views:1071 Replies:4 FollowUps:17
"Over the next three years, starting this July, weekend campers and multi-day trekkers will pay increasingly higher park fees, the NT government announced today..."

Lots of details, and I don't want to copy-and-paste the entire article!

ABC article here

I will post this part, though:

"A new online booking system for campsites is on its way in.

The government says the new system will "streamline bookings and offer more certainty for visitors" as well as increase safety within parks via data collection.

While the current first-in-best-dressed system effectively regulates itself when it comes to who gets to camp where, the government says the new system will be monitored by rangers and authorised campground hosts to ensure compliance with bookings.

But we don't know when the online booking system will come into effect. "
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Reply By: Member - Wildmax - Friday, Mar 05, 2021 at 16:09

Friday, Mar 05, 2021 at 16:09
Yeah, we know how the online booking system works in Queensland.....not !! What a PITA that the Territory is heading the same way.
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Follow Up By: OBJ - Sunday, Mar 07, 2021 at 12:33

Sunday, Mar 07, 2021 at 12:33
Exactly. I was always happy to use the honour system and 'first in best dressed'. But in 5 bookings, 4 of the sites I booked were occupied by others who refused to move upon my arrival. I was not prepared to move elsewhere in case I moved onto some other persons site. I requested a refund on those occasions but was told that 'we don't have the capacity to give refunds'.

I now rock up, pay up if there is an honour system, and if there is no phone reception, I will free camp. Ranger caught me once, and I offered to pay him but he said he was not allowed to accept money. I told him I was not trying to avoid paying but wanted to see if what I was paying for was available. He could not offer me a facility where I could pay for my camp. I told him to book me, then asked how much his government was prepared to spend to defend their actions when it went to court. He (sort of .. ) agreed that the system was a mess and quietly faded from the scene.

Absolute rubbish from lame headed politicians who would not know sheet from clay!!!

OBJ
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Follow Up By: Member - Wildmax - Sunday, Mar 07, 2021 at 22:45

Sunday, Mar 07, 2021 at 22:45
We had the opposite but less serious problem OBJ, at Cape York.
Our group with 3 vehicles travelling together had booked a site each because there was no indication online of site dimensions, but we got there to find all of us could comfortably fit together in the one area.
So our two vacant sites were listed online as being in use, when in fact other campers could have set up there ...... no communication or local ranger to allow us to cancel.
It's a crazy system which pays no heed to the realities of remote travel; clearly designed by desk jockeys who never leave their capital cities.
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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Monday, Mar 08, 2021 at 09:26

Monday, Mar 08, 2021 at 09:26
Most bureaucrats who come up with these ideas have no real world experience. All they see is the $ sign. If you have an online booking platform, you don’t need as many Rangers on the ground to take fees and issue receipts. It doesn’t matter to them if it works or not, they are just saving money.

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Reply By: noggins - Friday, Mar 05, 2021 at 16:42

Friday, Mar 05, 2021 at 16:42
We have online booking here in WA
and it actually sometimes works (? More Not than yes )

Seems like the NT gurus have looked at the confusion and hassles the other states have and decided "That's the way for us" as the first-come was far to easy on those pesky travellers!


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Reply By: Member - McLaren3030 - Saturday, Mar 06, 2021 at 08:23

Saturday, Mar 06, 2021 at 08:23
High Candace,

Steve in Kakadu might be able to help with when the changes are likely to take effect. As for me, the only time I tried to use the book on line system in Qld was back in 2011 or 12 I think. I was not successful in getting through, not for the want of trying.

I am sure you have read a few of the complaints from people that have booked a site, only to find when they arrive that someone else is on their site, and won’t move. It is not “policed” as vigorously as it needs to be, and you have no way of contacting the relevant authorities, as most of these places do not have Cell Phone coverage.

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Follow Up By: Member - PhilD_NT - Saturday, Mar 06, 2021 at 17:09

Saturday, Mar 06, 2021 at 17:09
I added some more info on the bottom of the original thread as published in the NTNews recently. I can see the biggest complaints being over the charges for some walks such as the Larapinta Trail.

https://www.exploroz.com/forum/140829/nt-set-to-introduce-mandatory-online-booking-for-campsites
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Follow Up By: Steve in Kakadu - Sunday, Mar 07, 2021 at 14:44

Sunday, Mar 07, 2021 at 14:44
This is the NT Government and NT Parks.

This will not affect Kakadu or Uluru, run by the Federal Government.
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Follow Up By: Gramps - Sunday, Mar 07, 2021 at 14:48

Sunday, Mar 07, 2021 at 14:48
Steve,

Are they the only NT parks run by the Feds ?

Regards
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Follow Up By: Member - PhilD_NT - Sunday, Mar 07, 2021 at 17:08

Sunday, Mar 07, 2021 at 17:08
Steve, tell us how well Parks Australia is going with running Kakadu. What with disputes between TO's and PA, resignations in PA, and TO's threatening to close off 2 sites we've heard about so far. This isn't going to encourage tourists to go there this season if this continues. Meanwhile Litchfield Park is likely to still be a drawcard as usual, particularly as the loop road is now all sealed and the Finnis River bridge completed making day trips for top end residents even easier.

With NT fee charges, online bookings in some places and Kakadu issues it doesn't bode well for a bumper season. Add to that the NT Govt shutting down the Window on the Wetlands visitor centre out near the Adelaide River on the Arnhem Hwy.

A month ago we were bored and went for a day drive down to Pine Creek, across to Jabiru and back home. First surprise was the Mary River roadhouse on the Kakadu Hwy and its camping ground closed and barricaded off. Next was a Ranger Station not far inside the Park looking dilapidated and almost abandoned. We went into a few campgrounds and they also looked uncared for.Jabiru itself looked uninviting. Lastly the Kakadu Holiday village on the Arnhem Hwy was closed and looking abandoned. Even the fuel bowsers were removed. I know some of this is due to being the wet season, but there were still plenty of vehicles, many interstaters, on the roads and not much about particularly flooded.
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Follow Up By: Steve in Kakadu - Sunday, Mar 07, 2021 at 19:03

Sunday, Mar 07, 2021 at 19:03
Hi Phil

I said all I can on the 4 Corners thread.

The Roadhouse is in negotiations with a new operator as the last one got very sick very quickly last year. The Aurora was that run down it was not viable to do up, therefore it closed and they handed their lease back.

As for the Ranger Station, it is being renovated and you would have seen is a half finished construction site, however, they started work again 2 weeks ago and will include wheelchair access to the visitor centre and toilets. I can assure you it is not abandoned, as it is the ranger station I look after and live at with newly fully renovated houses. There were only 2 of us on over the Xmas period, and all our sites will be looking good come the tourism season. As for camp grounds, yeah it's the wet season, nobody camping in the monsoon so all those will be done up as the dry starts.

In fact we have had rain every day here since Xmas, it finally stopped last Monday, but I don't think we have seen the last of it.

Last year Gunlom amenities block, was given a complete refresh as well as some of the others.

Jabiru is about to get a $400 million up grade and the park is getting $200 million over the next 10 years, with a large amount being spent in the near future.

There is going to be a lot of changes in the near future.

Hope that answers you question.

Yes Gramps only those 2.
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Follow Up By: Member - PhilD_NT - Sunday, Mar 07, 2021 at 20:16

Sunday, Mar 07, 2021 at 20:16
Thanks Steve,

Do you have a link to the 4 corners article?
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Follow Up By: Steve in Kakadu - Sunday, Mar 07, 2021 at 22:10

Sunday, Mar 07, 2021 at 22:10
Exploreoz thread 141113
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Follow Up By: Candace S. - Saturday, Mar 13, 2021 at 11:41

Saturday, Mar 13, 2021 at 11:41
4 Corners thread
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Reply By: Frank P (NSW) - Wednesday, Mar 10, 2021 at 22:25

Wednesday, Mar 10, 2021 at 22:25
Is the NT bound by the Australian Constitution?

AFAIK the constitution says that a state can impose a tax on a good from another state only if it taxes that good at the same rate within the state.

So if NT residents can access NT NATIONAL (my emphasis) Parks free of charge, but residents of other Aus states must pay, then to me that amounts to a tax on non NT residents that is not in accord with the constitution.

Though an Australian territory is normally governed by the Commonwealth, the NT (along with the other mainland territory, the ACT) has been granted powers to govern itself. It is to all effects and purposes a state of Australia, with its own parliament and its own administration system, just like any other state. Therefore, because it is contrary to the Aus constitution, it should not be able to levy differential fees for access to NATIONAL parks, fees that are based solely on state of residence of the user.

This armchair lawyer is disgusted. Maybe all 6 states should levy extra fees on NT visitors using our national parks. Quid pro quo - a favour for a favour.

If anyone more qualified than me has views on this I'd like to hear them. I'm sure there is more to it than I have been able to glean?

Quick summary of the relevant part of the Constitution.

States and Territories - Australia
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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Thursday, Mar 11, 2021 at 13:40

Thursday, Mar 11, 2021 at 13:40
Just a thought Frank, perhaps NT residents pay higher fees/rates/taxes or something that we in other states do not.

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Follow Up By: Member - PhilD_NT - Thursday, Mar 11, 2021 at 18:12

Thursday, Mar 11, 2021 at 18:12
Whatever you do, don't ask for Clive Palmer's advice on challenging over a Constitution issue, he lost that one.

As to why we in the NT get a better deal, maybe it's a case of NT residents being better at badgering or threatening Politicians here with an electoral backlash if they didn't get us a better deal for our own backyard. It could be argued that they just look after us better but at the moment this is more credit than they deserve.

Maybe, rather than argue that we should have to pay the entry fee as well as interstaters it's more a case that people elsewhere should do more to ensure that they get a better deal within their own States. Just saying.
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Thursday, Mar 11, 2021 at 18:32

Thursday, Mar 11, 2021 at 18:32
Phil,

"Maybe, rather than argue that we should have to pay the entry fee as well as interstaters... "

I would argue that seeing that they are NATIONAL parks, no-one should pay any fees. By their very name they are owned and paid for by the taxpayer.

I will give ground on camping fees at constructed campgrounds - facilities do need to be paid for, and I will pay where it is required - but IMO a fee for simple access is inappropriate, not just in NT but everywhere.

Which for me makes it wrong that interstaters are charged in NT but Territorians are not.

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Follow Up By: Member - PhilD_NT - Thursday, Mar 11, 2021 at 19:52

Thursday, Mar 11, 2021 at 19:52
Frank,
"By their very name they are owned and paid for by the taxpayer"

I don't think that Kakadu fits that description. Isn't it a case that it is only managed by Parks Australia but there are various Traditional Owners?

I can't recall who actually approved the fee waiver but there were a lot of arguments put forward for it. Being that the township of Jabiru and Uranium mines were within the Park there was therefore a lot of legitimate commercial, industrial, visitor and residential traffic and this meant that you would have to have fully manned entry points, 24/7, which would be an expensive operation when probably the majority would be free access. As well, both the Arnhem and Kakadu Highways are public roads anyway and as such you are allowed free travel along them, which also happens elsewhere.

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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Thursday, Mar 11, 2021 at 20:11

Thursday, Mar 11, 2021 at 20:11
Phil,

From the link to the ABC report in the opening post:

"Will I need to pay for day access?
If you're an NT resident, day trips to all NT parks will remain completely free.

But from July 2022, the NT Government will introduce an entry fee to some NT parks for interstate and international visitors — a plan the government confirmed earlier this year despite opposition from the Northern Land Council over tourism concerns.

The government has insisted Territorians will be exempt from having to pay for day trips to NT parks."

Assuming the report is correct, that is what I specifically object to in my post.

That is in addition, of course, to the general objection I share with most travellers of the on-line campsite booking system in all states that use it for their national parks.

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Follow Up By: Member - PhilD_NT - Thursday, Mar 11, 2021 at 21:52

Thursday, Mar 11, 2021 at 21:52
Frank,

I also share that objection to online booking, even though we haven't and most probably wouldn't either. Even looking at the Wangi Fall's campground while out there we could see difficulties in where our van would fit if we had to do a booking sight unseen. That's apart from what I've read of issues elsewhere in Australia that people have encountered.

As to differing charges, or no charges as is your issue. Even with out limited touring interstate we have encountered a number of times that we've been charged more than what a local would pay. For example we are planning our next WA trip and looking at day visits to a number of National Parks that are actually State Parks. To cover our expected time the only value for money Pass is a year one even though we can only use it for 3 months. There are also different charges for Seniors that we have encountered around Australia depending on whether you have a local State Senior's Card or an Interstate one, Pensioner Concession Card or a Federal Govt Centrelink Card. We remember a place where my wife got a discount with her NT Seniors Card but I got a bigger discount with my NT Automobile Association card. Differing charges are all around you, not limited to the NT. Unless it's changed since, in Tassie we couldn't use our Woolworths Rewards Card from the mainland so missed out on 4 cents off fuel discounts.

Did someone say something about this being one Country?
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