The opportunity to camp on the Wimmera River is one step closer, but some pundits are worried about the long term effects.
The Victorian government is currently drafting regulations to govern the rollout of its controversial crown land camping laws, while reports circulate about a possible pilot scheme.
Public consultation on the laws ended in April after the laws passed the Victorian Upper House last year.
A government spokesperson told The Wimmera Mail-Times that reports concerning a pilot scheme of 25 sites are "misleading", and the new laws are set to begin September 1 2021.
"(The reports are) misleading. The government is delivering on the election commitment to make more water frontage land available for all to enjoy through fishing and camping. The draft regulations are being finalised," the spokesperson said.
"We are delivering on an election commitment we made to Victorians in 2018 that has been welcomed by over 800,000 fishers and campers."
"The draft regulations - including how they're going to be enforced - are still being finalised and we will have more to say soon."
According to the government's spokesperson, the new regulations will give Victorian Fisheries Authority power to prosecute people who choose to "disregard Victorian laws", according to the government's spokesperson.
The regulations will require campers to behave appropriately and in a way that protects the environment and the interests of licence holders and adjoining landowners while protecting Aboriginal cultural heritage sites and values.
In addition, the Victorian Fisheries Authority will operate a 24-hour hotline for reporting misconduct. It will continue to work together with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Parks Victoria and Victoria Police to enforce the regulations once they are in place.
"While the public consultation has finished, we continue to engage with a number of key stakeholders, including fishing, agriculture, environmental and traditional owner groups."
The Victorian government are in talks with key stakeholder groups, including Environment Victoria, Landcare Victoria Incorporated, Rural Councils Victoria, Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria and the Victorian National Parks Association.
However, consultation isn't enough for everyone, with the Victorian Farming Federation calling for establishing a dedicated Stakeholder Reference Group to advise the government on the implementation of the upcoming camping regulations.
VFF President Emma Germano said the regulations would affect a significant amount of farmers.
"Farmers and the environment will be significantly impacted by the camping regulations set to come into force in just over a month's time," Ms Germano said.
"It's only fair that those impacted have a means to have their voice heard. The Victorian Government should have by now provided an official response to key stakeholder concerns and we remain hopeful that they will listen to the issues raised by the community."
According to Ms Germano, the VFF would prefer the government to go ahead with a pilot scheme, such as the one indicated in reports.
"A pilot will ensure there is time for the Government to conduct an appropriate risk assessment of how these rules will impact agriculture, the environment and make sure the welfare of campers is also considered," Ms Germano said.
When asked about reports, the Mail-Times was told the government had nothing to add at this stage.
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