MEDIA RELEASE

19 November 2019

 

Tim Quilty says irresponsible 4x4 drivers will lead to more government access restrictions

Tim Quilty, Liberal Democrats Member for Northern Victoria, has condemned the irresponsible behaviour of some 4x4 drivers who tear up the landscapes and create ill feeling towards other off-road enthusiasts.

Mr Quilty visited Mansfield today and met with members of the Mansfield Alpine 4WD Club, who take great care to look after the land they visit.

“The issue of off-road driving can lead to some strong opinions so it was a great opportunity to talk to club members and hear their experiences,” Mr Quilty said.

“I enjoyed talking with the CEO of 4WD Victoria, Wayne Hevey, who told me that while his organisation encourages responsible use of off-road tracks, there are some drivers who just get out in the wild and behave like idiots.

“This causes damage to the landscape and can also create a risk to other park users if this poor driving occurs near other people.”

Mr Quilty pointed out that driving irresponsibly is not only inconsiderate and potentially dangerous, it can also penalise all 4x4 enthusiasts.

“This sort of behaviour runs a very real risk of giving the Victorian Government a reason to restrict access to 4x4 drivers, which is the last thing we want to see,” Mr Quilty said.

“Access to our beautiful countryside is, unfortunately, always going to be subject to the approval of government bureaucrats and we don’t want to be giving them an excuse to sign off on more lockouts from public land.

“The Liberal Democrats want to see local park users given a role in managing the parks they know and love because there is no substitute for local knowledge and local social networks. This issue fits in perfectly with that policy.”

Wayne Hevey, CEO of 4WD Victoria, described the behaviours which could lead to penalties against the 4x4 community.

“Some drivers fit illegally oversized tyres and go out there and rip, tear and bust, and they give us all a bad name,” Mr Hevey said.

“They’ll see a puddle and make a dam out of it, then come home with mud all over their cars and for them that’s a badge of honour. That’s not how we operate – we are very conscious of the environment and work hard to ensure it is kept in a pristine condition.”

Mr Hevey explained that some drivers go off-roading in large numbers, which can cause problems.

“Some drivers travel in huge groups, perhaps up to 50 vehicles, whereas we will go in groups no larger than 10,” Mr Hevey said.

“Smaller groups reduce wear and tear on the tracks and do not affect other users. I’ve seen for myself the damage that such large groups can cause.

“We fight against this sort of thing on a daily basis – from our point of view it’s all about education.”

For more information, contact Graham Springett | 0408 208819