Camping should not be allowed on licensed water frontages, according to Member for Western Victoria Bev McArthur.
She spoke about the proposed Parks and Crown Land Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 in parliament recently.
"I have received an enormous amount of correspondence from constituents who are deeply concerned about this provision, many of whom are farmers who have licensed Crown land water frontages for agricultural purposes," Mrs McArthur said.
She said land owners had no issue with people accessing the land to go fishing, but were opposed to camping.
"Camping would lead to camp fires, human waste due to the obvious lack of toilet facilities and rubbish being left behind on the land," Mrs McArthur said.
"This would significantly burden farmers who may have licensed a considerable land mass on water frontages but have no enforcement mechanism to ensure campers clean up their own mess."
Earlier this year the operator of a school camp aired his concerns.
Matt Bowker, who runs Kangaroobie school camp at Princetown, is a river frontage licence holder.
Under this he pays a licence fee to the state government for use of the land, which is also allowed to be accessed by members of the public for fishing.
Mr Bowker said he had no issue with that but the Parks and Crown Land Legislation Amendment Bill 2019, will allow people to camp on the land for free.
"As it stands, licence holders must allow access to river frontages for fishing and that has always been part of the management agreement," Mr Bowker said. "I have absolutely no issue with that and have many people accessing the river across our property to fish, with the overwhelming majority doing the right thing and taking away their rubbish and leaving little trace."
However, he said the new legislation would allow unregulated and unpoliced "free for all" camping.
Mr Bowker said in addition to fears about the safety of school children at his camp, there would be potential issues around hygeine and where campers would access toilet facilities and no regulations dictating how long people can stay at a particular site.
Victorian Farmers Federation spokesman David Jochinke said landholders had real and legitimate concerns about how the change will impact them, their businesses and their environment. He said the VFF sought regulations to protect licence holders, agriculture and the environment by requiring a system of registration, setbacks from waterways and private land, and limiting camping to areas to where toilet and rubbish facilities are available.
"There must be a system of registration to ensure accountability, limit the number of campers and duration of stay and allow farmers to adhere to their biosecurity quality assurance scheme obligations," he said.
"From our point of view, if there's no registration and no camping infrastructure, there should be no camping."
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