Environment and Water | June 13, 2019

Kealy calls for review of Summerday Valley ban

The Nationals Member for Lowan Emma Kealy has called for the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change to urgently intervene and allow Licensed Tour Operators (LTO’s) continued access to Summerday Valley until the Grampians Landscape Management Plan review is completed.

Licensed Tour Operators (LTO) currently operating in the Grampians National Park are permitted under their licensing arrangements to continue taking rock climbing tour groups to Summerday Valley until 30 June, but there is great uncertainly beyond this date.

Ms Kealy has previously raised the issue of rock climbing bans in the Grampians National Park in Parliament in March, supported by a petition of 557 signatures collected in one week.

Ms Kealy said Summerday Valley is a key climbing site in the Grampians and is popular because it is a great climb for new climbers, children and is even accessible for people with disability or in a wheelchair.

“It is deeply concerning that with little notice or consultation, LTO’s will not have permission to take tour groups into Summerday Valley beyond 30 June, even though there is no evidence that rock climbers have damaged areas of cultural significance or the environment in the area,” she said.

“I have personally met with a number of climbers and local LTOs and they all have enormous respect for the Grampians and the indigenous history of the region, seeing themselves as responsible for educating and sharing that respect with those who tour with them.

“Given there is a Management Plan review underway and given LTO’s already have many bookings to take tour groups into Summerday Valley over forthcoming months, there is no good reason for these operations to cease until the Management Plan is complete.

“If enforced on 30 June, this decision will cripple our local tour operators and close one of the most significant climbing sites in Victoria.

“I have requested the Minister see reason and protect tourism in the Grampians.

“The Minister must ensure the ongoing opportunity for rock climbers to access one of the very few wheelchair accessible and child friendly climbing sites and provide LTO’s with a guarantee they will be able to continue to access Summerday Valley after 1 July as they have done in an environmentally sustainable and respectful way for decades.”

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