Today marks the final day Victorians can give feedback on controversial proposed law changes regarding camping on Crown land riverfronts.
The changes to the Land Act 1955 are set to be enacted on September 1 and would open nearly 26,000 kilometres of Victoria's Crown land water frontages to camping.
The Victorian government's proposal, known as clause 49, was part of its 'Fishing and boating' commitments at the last election to encourage people to get outdoors.
"The land is already available to use for a range of recreational activities including fishing, but the addition of camping will mean more opportunities for families to enjoy the great outdoors and camp free at more spots," Minister for Fishing and Boating, Melissa Horne, said.
However, the plan has seen pushback from farmers and landowners, who say the proposed laws lack accountability.
In October, 2,400 landowners signed a petition against clause 49, raising concerns about the environmental, social and economic impacts of camping.
Dr Angus McKinnon, a veterinarian and retired dairy farmer who helped lodge the petition, said that allowing "unfettered access [to Crown land] would be an unmitigated disaster".
David Jochinke, President of the Victorian Farmer's Federation, likened the laws to allowing strangers "to pitch a tent on your nature strip".
"From a farmer's perspective, it begins to build a comprehensive argument as to why a proposal such as this makes no sense," he wrote.
The Victorian government argued the changes would clarify existing regulations about the use of Crown land.
"The public has a right to enjoy public land. With these changes, campers will be welcome to use Crown Land with water frontage free and in harmony with licensees and the environment - the same way that currently occurs in State Forests," Ms Horne said.
Consultation with the public opened on March 3.
Feedback can be lodged on the Victorian government website, via email or in writing.
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