Community facilities Sport and Recreation Speeches | June 05, 2019

Grampians rock climbing

Victorian Parliament - 5 June 2019 - Ms KEALY (Lowan) (19:14:42): (744) My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, and the action I seek is for the minister to urgently intervene to permit and guarantee licensed tour operators (LTOs) continued access to Summerday Valley in the Grampians National Park and to ensure the current licensing arrangements that allow access to Summerday Valley continue until the Grampians landscape management plan review is completed and released. LTOs that currently operate in the Grampians National Park are permitted under their current licensing arrangements to take rock climbing tour groups to Summerday Valley. They will be able to continue to do so until 30 June, but there is great uncertainly beyond this date. Summerday Valley is a key climbing site in the Grampians. It is popular because it is a great climb for new climbers and for children and is even accessible for people with a disability or in wheelchairs. In fact it is one of the few climbs that is accessible to all rock climbers to enjoy our beautiful Grampians National Park and learn to climb safely. I myself have abseiled, with my slightly terrified National Party colleagues, in Summerday Valley with the fantastic LTO Tori Dunn. Like all climbers and LTOs I have met from the local region, Tori has enormous respect for the Grampians. She sees herself as a protector of the area and as someone who has responsibility to connect with and care for the environment and Indigenous history of the region and to educate and share that respect with all those that tour with her. It is deeply concerning that with little notice or consultation LTOs like Tori will have their permission to take tour groups into Summerday Valley denied, even though there is no evidence that rock climbers have damaged areas of cultural significance in Summerday Valley or that climbers have damaged the environment in the region. Given there is a review already underway of the Grampians landscape management plan and given LTOs already have many bookings into the new licensing year to take tour groups into Summerday Valley, there is no good reason for these operations to cease in the interim period until the management plan is complete. Failure to ensure access will cripple local tour operators and close one of the most significant climbing sites in Victoria. As Tori said: Kids are the real losers. The opportunities provided to children to rock climb will be significantly reduced if Summerday Valley is closed without consultation and full understanding of the impacts on climbing opportunities in Victoria and on local businesses. Again, it is essential the minister understands there is no evidence of damage to areas of cultural significance in Summerday Valley and therefore no trigger or reason to cease LTOs’ access to this fantastic climbing region. So, Minister, I ask you to see reason and to support these important small businesses, to protect tourism in the Grampians, to support the great activity of rock climbing, to ensure there is ongoing opportunity to access one of the very few climbing sites that is wheelchair accessible and child friendly, and to provide permission and a guarantee to local LTOs that they will be able to continue to access Summerday Valley after 1 July, as they have done so respectfully and in an environmentally sound way for decades.

Created with NationBuilder