Fees dumped for basic camping in Victoria's National Parks but there is more to do on bookings

April 10, 2015
Fees dumped for basic camping in Victoria's National Parks but there is more to do on bookings

Victorian families can nowhave a more affordable holiday and get the chance to experience Victoria's regional national parks.

Minister for Environment, Lisa Neville, has announced that unfair basic camping fees enforced by the previous Coalition Government were scrapped on April 2,ahead of the recent Easter break.

Minister for Environment, Lisa Neville said:

We want Victorian families to have an affordable holiday and get a chance to experience our great national parks.

The Coalition reduced Parks Victoria funding by $88 million since 2011, making families pay charging them a fee for pitching a tent in a park.

You can't put a price on the beauty of our national parks. They make our state liveable. Go out and visit one.

The fees previouslyimposed made camping expensive for families, affected school camps and buried Parks Victoria in red tape.

From now on, over 500 basic camping sites and more than70 campgrounds in 19 parks throughout regional Victoria will have no fees.

The bookings system for these sites will remain in place until 1 July 2015. Customers who have made a booking between now and 1 July will be refunded automatically by Parks Victoria, but the bookings will still be honoured.

A basic site is defined as unserviced, with minimal ranger patrols and pit or no-pit toilets.

From 1 July 2015, these sites will no longer require booking and will be available on a first- come, first-served basis.

GSA and our friends at Westprint Friday Fivesthink this is indeed good news. Westprint Friday Fives and GSA have done a bit of research on the sites where there are pre-booking and site fees (of about $36 per night per vehicle) and the system is still going to have many difficulties.

Westprint Friday Fives and GSA notes that a number of campsites in the Wyperfeld and Hattah areas still need to be pre-booked.

Without mobile phone coverage booking problems will still exist.

Here is ais link to a list of parks showing those that are now free (those listed as Basic) and those that still have charges.

From our friends at Westprint Friday Fives:

Just to add our comment to the new fee structure in Victoria:

I feel it really discriminates against the people that do not have a set itinerary when travelling and camping in Parks. These are usually 2 retired people in a single vehicle and they have no wish to decide on a venue or length of stay until the last minute. I have heard of instances where a lack of mobile coverage has led to long drives to an area where booking calls can be made. I have also heard of instances where booked ( paid) sites have been filled by non-paying or booking groups. There have also been instances where the booked site is totally unsuitable to the persons and they have been unable to change positions - usually meaning a long trip out of the Park at great inconvenience.

The fee structure for Camping Sites is set at an exorbitant rate - why should two (2) people pay the same fee as for 6 or 8 people? Even if they did find someone else willing to share a site, they are required to pay an extra vehicle fee. My experience with South Australia Tasmanian passes has been very positive. Why wouldn't this system ensure a fair fee structure to cover any maintenance costs? Pat

Lisa Neville was elected as the Member for Bellarine in 2002. Lisa is the Minister for Environment and Climate Change in the Victorian State Parliament. Under the previous Labor Government, Lisa served as the Minister for Mental Health, the first in Australia, and as Minister for Community Services and Senior Victorians from 2006-2010.

Lisa is determined to raise the profile of environmental issues, vital to the future of Victoria and the nation.

The Andrews Labor Government has asked Parks Victoria to review all other camping options to make sure Victoria gets the balance right between affordable holidays and funding for new facilities.

For more information on walks, activities and what's open to visitors please visit www.parks.vic.gov.au or call 13 1963.

Editor's Note: GSA reported on Parks Victoria and camping fees in this heads-up story in 2013 please click the link to access the GoSee library of more than 1500 Information Articles.