The Land (Regulated Watercourse Land) Regulations 2021 have been finalised, and commenced on 1 September 2021.

View the consultation summary report and final regulations below.

Overview

Earlier this year draft regulations managing the recreational use of Crown water frontages were released for public comment.

In 2018, the Government committed to improve access to fishing and camping on Crown Land water frontages with grazing licences, to provide greater opportunities for Victorians to spend time together outdoors. To enable the implementation of this commitment, Parliament passed amendments to the Land Act 1958 to remove the prohibition of camping on licensed river frontages, and provide for the making of regulations to manage access and recreational use of these areas.

Public consultation on the draft Land (Regulated Watercourse Land) Regulations was delivered online on Engage Victoria from 3 March 2021 to 26 April 2021. Over the 7 week online consultation period approximately 1,100 submissions were received from a range of stakeholders including adjacent land owners and licence holders, recreational users including campers and anglers, and interest groups.

DELWP has lead and completed the review of the valuable feedback provided by the public to refine and make the final regulations. Consideration of the diverse views expressed through submissions was essential to ensure these final regulations reflect the expectations of the community and reach a fair balance between providing opportunity for the use and enjoyment of our public land, while setting appropriate behaviours that protect our environment and the interests of adjoining land owners and licence holders.

A consultation summary report (below) has been prepared to present the analysis of the submissions and the response to the issues and themes raised by participants.

Recreational use of Crown water frontages

The Regulated Watercourse Land regulations 2021 manage the recreational use of Crown water frontages.

The regulations establish a clear set of rules and behaviours for certain Crown land recreational use near watercourses, both licensed and unlicensed. The regulations aim to:

  • protect the environment, including natural and cultural values, and water quality
  • support the enjoyment of those using the land for recreation
  • protect the interests of licensees
  • manage fire risk.

The regulations include tools to assist land managers in managing circumstances, including designating ('setting aside') areas for purposes including protecting sensitive natural or cultural values

The final regulations can be viewed online here.

Camping on licensed Crown river frontages

The Victorian government has delivered on its election promise to make more river frontage land available for camping, fishing, and recreation. Rules for camping on river frontages are set out in the Regulated Watercourse Land Regulations 2021.

Government has refined the approach to how and where camping can occur in Crown water frontage areas with grazing licences. From 1 September 2021, camping is only permitted on licensed areas that have been assessed and designated as suitable for camping. Camping will not be permitted in licensed in areas where no assessment has been undertaken.

Areas designated for camping will be listed on the DELWP website. There will be a staged approach to opening up designated camping sites - further sites will be announced as they are assessed as suitable for camping. Initially, the assessment and designation of camping areas will focus on priority rivers in northern Victoria - the Goulburn, Broken, Ovens, Campaspe, Loddon and Murray Rivers.

The Department of Environment, Land Water and Planning will lead the assessment of sites, with the support of a number of other agencies. Assessments will include the consideration of environmental values and suitability for camping. An assessment of Aboriginal cultural heritage will also be undertaken by the relevant Traditional Owner group for that area.

For more information visit the DELWP website.