The State Government is planning to increase camping fees at Victoria’s national parks.
The Government is proposing to introduce camping fees for the first time in some parks and raise the cost in parks that already charge a fee.
Environment Minister Ryan Smith says the increases are “modest” and the money will be used to maintain toilets and other facilities.
The minister says there is a $10 million shortfall in what it costs to maintain the camp grounds.
“We want to make sure that we can maintain the facilities,” he said.
“We don’t want them to go into decline. And we feel that the fairest way to do that is to have a user-pays system.”
‘It’s important to note that we will continue to have free entry into our national parks, unlike other states. So this modest fee rise in camping I think will go a long way to making sure that we provide the good opportunities and the good facilities that we currently have in these camping grounds. “
The State Opposition’s environment spokeswoman, Lisa Neville, says the policy will hurt families.
“We know from the report that the minister is to release that it will have an impact on the visitations to our national parks,” she said.
“For many families, the option of this sort of nature-based holiday (will be) out of their range.”
The new user pay approach is expected to be introduced in March 2014.