Ratepayers are expected to pay full camping fees for the Parks Victoria managed services they are already underwriting. The broader community, that is those who are not Victorian ratepayers, clearly benefit from the Victorian ratepayers annual subsidy of the parks service.
How is this ratepayer subsidy a fair share in users pays termsof the overall cost?
GoSee struggles to understand the Victorian Government's argument that - However, unless the users of our magnificent public land estate and natural assets contribute a fair share of the cost of providing and managing these camping and accommodation sites, providing for these facilities and services will become more difficult, the statement says.
It is true that - Current camping fees have an inconsistent and unstructured relationship with the level of service provided and are generally only applied at high visitation sites or where collection is easiest.
In the commercial caravan park worldmany would struggle to command and sustain current rates.Customer service and reliable hot water are clear examples of regular shortfalls. The too often high-handed padlocked approach to providing toilet services and access at some parks sites jars with women.
GoSee women have been exposed to this environment over the years. As they are 'spoilt' by extensive experience in all styles of caravan park accommodation throughout Australia and New Zealand there is an educated preference among them not to camp at National and State Park related campgrounds.
Shower and toilets Grampians NP campsite
Fees and financial impacts under the preferred option:
Fees (peak rates only) under the preferred option are outlined in the Victorian National Parks Camping and Accommodation Fees. The proposed fees for camping facilities are an increase on the current fees, in particular where fees are being introduced for the basic and very basic campsites for the first time. This reflects the current modest fee structure, where patrons are being subsidised by tax payers and camping sites are not being adequately maintained, the statement says.
The high and low of the new proposed camping price range is:
Camping current powered very high demand period $55-proposed $66.
Basic and very basic $0 proposed $13.
Cabins current $195 proposed $236.
Huts current $89 proposed $131.
There are about 680 campgrounds in Victoria's parks and reserves, costing significant public funds to maintain and operate each year. These costs need to be recovered so that Victoria can continue to provide great visitor experiences in nature, with safe, modern campgrounds and facilities, the statement says.
The current funding model is insufficient to ensure the maintenance and safety of all Victoria's public land campsites. The standard of facilities and maintenance across these sites will begin to suffer unless changes are made the statement says.
The Government has prepared the regulatory impact statement (RIS) to assess the impact of introducing a user pays approach to camping fees for all parks and reserves managed by Parks Victoria. This is part of the Government's efforts to make sure that Victorians continue to have access to these beautiful places and that the costs of providing safe, visitor-friendly facilities and services are sustainable and affordable, the statement says.
These changes will provide longer-term financial sustainability for these special places.
Maintaining the safety, facilities and services at campgrounds makes them more attractive to visitors, which contributes to people's well-being and boosts tourism and economic activity in regional Victoria, the statement says.
The new approach is expected to be introduced in Victoria's parks and reserves from 1 March 2014, the statement says.
Victorian National Parks Camping and Accommodation Fees Regulatory Impact Statement.
The Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) proposal for a user-pays approach to charges for camping and roofed accommodation in parks and reserves managed by Parks Victoria.
People are invited to provide feedback on the RIS.
Written submissions should be forwarded by 5pm Friday 22 November 2013 via either by post care of:
Camping and Accommodation Fees
Land Management Policy Division
Department of Environment and Primary Industries
Level 3, 8 Nicholson Street
EAST MELBOURNE VIC 3002
Editors note: A byline on a GoSee Information Article indicts opinion.
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