Environment Environment and Water Agriculture | April 20, 2021
Complexities in licenced river frontage draft regulations must be addressed
The Nationals Member for Lowan Emma Kealy has highlighted a lack of clarity around changes to licenced river frontage regulations.
Ms Kealy said her office had been contacted by a large number of farmers concerned about the changes and how they are going to manage public access on their licenced river frontages under the new regulations.
“The draft regulations in their current format raise more questions than answers,” Ms Kealy said.
“Questions relating to waste management, water quality, bushfire risk, vulnerable species, biosecurity, public liability and protection of stock need addressing.
“There will need to be some compromise by all parties to achieve an acceptable outcome.
“There also needs to be consideration to ensure that public accessibility will not negatively impact on soil erosion, river bank stabilisation, native vegetation regeneration and water quality.
Ms Kealy said farmers were concerned that the draft regulations failed to mention the landholder or issues such as trespass and public liability.
“Allowing public access on licenced river frontages is a complex issue and, frustratingly, Labor has pushed through the legislation without comprehensive analysis of the consequences,” she said.
“Many fear that in the absence of adequate resourcing including additional authorised officers, farmers will be left to do the policing, in effect becoming park rangers.”
Ms Kealy said while she generally supported access to public land, any regulations must be well-researched, negotiated and balanced to avoid unnecessary conflicts between interested parties and impacts on sensitive environments.
“It is imperative that the Andrews Government gets this right, and the draft regulations in their current complex format fall way short of an acceptable outcome for our affected farmers.”
Public submissions on the licenced river frontage draft regulations close next week.
Submissions can be made at https://engage.vic.gov.au/regulated-watercourse-land-regulations
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