Posted on 23. Oct, 2013 in News

Victorian families will be slugged new fees to camp in national parks to make up for Napthine Government budget cuts and mass staff sackings, Shadow Minister for the Environment and Climate Change, Lisa Neville, said today.

Ms Neville said Denis Napthine’s new camping fees in national parks could have a devastating impact on regional economies and stop families holidaying in regional Victoria.

“Today the Napthine Government flip-flopped on the fee hikes saying it was a proposal one minute and it would seek community feedback the next and then later today said it would implement the fee hikes,” Ms Neville said.

“The writing is on the wall and the Napthine Government looks like it will push ahead with these massive fee hikes for families to pitch a tent in parks that have previously been free.

“This is a badly thought out policy with the cost of recouping the fees likely to cost more than what the Napthine Government will receive in fees.

“Denis Napthine has slashed more than $111 million from Parks Victoria and sacked more than 600 staff from the Department of Environment and Primary Industries and Parks Victoria and is now going to slug families with these new park fees.

“The Napthine Government has created the problem of not being able to maintain these camping areas because of its budget and staff cuts and now it wants to penalise families that camp in tents by charging them new fees.

“Victorian families who camp in our national parks have every right to be asking the Government how these fees will improve their national park experience.”

“Environment Minister Ryan Smith today refused to detail what new facilities will be provided in these camping areas – many of which have no facilities at all.

Ms Neville said the Government’s own report on the camping fees warned that there could be fewer visitors if fees are increased.

“The Napthine Government will not only hit Victorian families in the hip pocket but also risk hurting regional Victoria as a tourism destination,” she said.

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