13 April 2021

Tim Quilty urges landowners to give feedback on new Crown land access law

Liberal Democrats Member for Northern Victoria Tim Quilty has urged landowners affected by new Andrews Government legislation opening up Crown land to campers to share their views.

New legislation coming into force in September will allow the public to camp on Crown land river frontage, provoking a surge of concern from farmers who met in Howlong this evening at a forum held by the Murray River Action Group.

Land grazing licence holders have condemned the new legislation, citing concerns about biosecurity, fire risks, littering, harm to livestock and trespass where people are allowed to camp for up to 28 days.

Mr Quilty, who is in Parliament House in Melbourne tonight, addressed the meeting via a statement.

“I am a politician, I was an accountant, but at heart I am a farmer,” Mr Quilty said.

“I grew up on the land, on the family farm - sheep and cattle - in the hills near Adelong, and I understand very well how it feels when some government idiot decides to stuff things up.”

Mr Quilty said the legislation, which was part of a 2018 Labor Party election promise, was “flawed”.

“How bad this is will depend on the regulations that the Government produces, and the way camping is managed,” Mr Quilty said.

“I spoke in Parliament and referred to the high probability of damage occurring when there are some campers who fail to respect the land.

“I understand these very real risks.”

However, Mr Quilty said, the Crown land is public land and should be accessible to the public.

“I voted to support the legislation because I believe in the right of Victorians to enjoy public land,” Mr Quilty said.

“It is one of the keystones on which the Liberal Democrats philosophy is built: minimal intrusion into our daily lives from the irritating hand of government.

“… it is the responsibility of the Labor Government to listen to the concerns of all of you here and put into place safeguards which protect your interests.

“It is not a good enough reason to ban something because some people may behave stupidly.

“We don’t ban cars because some people drive like idiots. We don’t ban alcohol because some people get drunk.

“This was Labor legislation, but in the end almost the entire Legislative Council supported it - only two Members voted against.

“This means all the Liberal and National MPs in the Upper House - as well as almost all the crossbench - voted to support it.

“I ask you all to give your feedback to the Victorian Government. Tell them how you feel, explain the risks you and your families and your businesses are being exposed to.

“Urge the Government to do the right thing and write regulations that manage this properly.”

Feedback on the legislation should be sent to by Monday, April 19.

For more information, contact Graham Springett | 0408 208819