CAMPERS staying at national parks in the south-west will have to pay more as part of a government plan to standardise park fees and services across the state.
Only 24 of Victoria’s 133 national parks charge campers for overnight stays but from March next year the state government will introduce fees at 11 more, while increasing costs at the others.
The government’s regulatory impact statement (RIS) outlines a plan to charge fees at each park by 2015, which is expected to raise at least $135 million a year.
The proposal for adjustments to camping fees would aim to help offset a portion of the annual shortfall in delivering camping facilities.
At the Grampians National Park, three pricing options presented in the RIS offer camp site fees between an average of $6 and $18 more per night in the peak season and between $5 and $16 more off peak.
The Great Otway National Park faces increases between $3 and $24 in peak season, plus an off-peak cost between $4 and $23 more per night.
Roofed accommodation fees on average per night are also set to increase under the RIS, which the government has described as “action to ensure that Parks Victoria can continue to provide quality camping facilities in the state’s national parks”.
Minister for Environ-ment and Climate Change Ryan Smith said the Coalition was committed to ensuring facilities remained accessible at some of the best and most beautiful national parks and camping grounds in Australia.
“A base review conducted by the Department of Treasury and Finance found that the previous Labor government mismanaged Parks Victoria, leaving a massive $178 million black hole in its budget,” Mr Smith said.
“There are 133 parks and reserves across Victoria and only 24 charge a fee for the use of the facilities.
“This has resulted in the cost of providing and maintaining these facilities outstripping the revenue generated by more than $10 million each and every year.
“By introducing a system where users pay for the standard of facilities and services provided at camping grounds, Parks Victoria will have the funds needed to operate within its means.”
The proposed adjustments will enable Parks Victoria to sustainably provide accommodation and camping grounds maintenance. It includes amenities, environmental management of surrounding areas, ranger patrols and staff presence, refuse management and recycling, wastewater management, underground gas/electricity supply and power generation infrastructure, as well as administration involved in bookings.
The RIS is available for review and comments at www.depi.vic.gov.au/camping.