Camping fees on political agenda
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Camping fees on political agenda

Shadow Minister for the Environment, Brad Battin, visited Cape Conran and Bunga Arm camping areas with member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, this week to review camping fee structures.

State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, this week visited some of the region’s prime camping locations with Shadow Minister for the Environment, Brad Battin, to discuss camping fees.

Mr Bull said camping fees at coastal locations had been an issue leading into the last state election and is seeking a review of prices at coastal camping locations.

“The fee rises applied to the popular coastal locations like Bunga Arm, Coringle, Cape Conran, Wingan Inlet, Tamboon Inlet and the like.

“While these areas were booked out over the peak period, what I am hearing is the rises in the shoulder and off-peak periods may have resulted in a significant reduction in camper numbers.

“If this is the case, then it defeats the purpose of the rises out of peak season in our most popular areas. This is something we need to find out more about.

“I understand the reasons for the rises - that there was a massive $11.3m shortfall between income from camp areas and cost of maintaining these sites and I am also aware that only 197 of the state’s 680 campsites (18%) have fees attached and the rest are free – but I don’t believe the pricing system on those areas where it exists, is right.

“It’s a matter I wanted Brad to be aware of and having visited Cape Conran and Bunga Arm this week and chatted to campers and local business operators, I am sure he has a better understanding of it all,” Mr Bull said.

Mr Battin said East Gippsland has some of the premier coastal camping locations in the state.

“They really are beautiful areas and should be enjoyed by as many people as possible. It is wise to review all decisions after a period and it is something we would have certainly done if still in government.

“We need to ensure the funding gap is minimised between income from camping areas and maintenance costs, whilst making sure our prime camping locations are affordable for families to enjoy. It is about finding the right balance.

“When any changes are made, it makes sense to review decisions made and it’s something we would have done if still in Government, so a review is timely,” he said.

While in the region, Mr Battin, had several meetings relating to native vegetation regulations and the need for certain aspects to be streamlined.