Submissions on the proposed watercourse land regulations have now closed.

All submissions received will be considered in the refinement of the regulations and in planning the implementation of changes to enable camping in Crown water frontages with grazing licences. The changes come into effect from 1 September 2021.

A consultation summary report will be prepared which will respond to the issues raised through the submissions, and how the regulation have been refined as a result of the consultation process. This will be published on this page.

Overview

The Victorian Government is committed to helping Victorians spend time together in the outdoors. The Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) is working with the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning (DELWP) to deliver the Government’s election commitment to improve public access to Crown Land, and to allow camping on river frontages with grazing licences.

To enable the implementation of this commitment, Parliament has recently passed amendments to the Land Act 1958 to remove the prohibition on camping on licensed river frontages and allow for the making of regulations to manage camping and recreational activities on regulated watercourse land, which includes these licensed areas. The public is already able to lawfully access licensed river frontages for recreation such as fishing, picnicking and hiking. These changes will allow for camping in appropriate areas from 1 September 2021.

To support the changes, the Victorian Government will create consistent regulations across regulated watercourse land. This consistency will help recreational users better understand what can and cannot occur when accessing these areas. The removal of the prohibition on camping on licensed river frontages recognises that this activity has been occurring on many of these frontages for many years and allows for it to be better managed through regulations. Camping in State Forests already occurs in harmony in areas where farmers have grazing licences.

The proposed regulations are outlined in the document below. Your feedback on these draft regulations will help DELWP refine the final regulations to ensure that they reflect the views of Victorians, and include appropriate controls for:

  • Protecting cultural and environmental values;
  • Protecting health and safety, including fire risk;
  • Protecting livestock;
  • Appropriate camping behaviour – including for waste and litter, closing of access gates, etc.
  • Protecting the public’s right to access public land

The VFA is undertaking a broader program to improve access to Crown Land river frontages. To accompany the regulations, the VFA is leading the development of a code of conduct to promote appropriate behaviours, in a way which respects the environment, other users and adjoining landowners, and a mobile app which will show where camping is permitted and assist users to identify appropriate areas for access. Further information can be found on the VFA website (https://vfa.vic.gov.au/).

Frequently asked questions

Click here to view responses to commonly asked questions on the proposed regulations and implementation of the government's election commitment.