More access to Crown Land
Let’s make more water frontage land available for all to enjoy
Have your say on managing camping and recreational activities on Crown land water frontages and help ensure safe and fair enjoyment by all.
The Victorian Government is committed to Victorians spending time together in the outdoors. As such, 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 increase and improve public access to Crown land water frontages with grazing licences.
Having a clear set of rules will help recreational users better understand what they can and cannot do when accessing these areas.
We invite recreational fishers, farmers, campers and outdoor enthusiasts to view the draft regulations and submit their feedback to help refine the final regulations, making sure they reflect the views of Victorians, and include appropriate controls.
You can provide your feedback on the draft regulations using any of the submission options below. These include the ability to upload a written statement, provide a general comment, or respond to targeted questions regarding the proposed regulations.
Have your say:
Land Management Policy Division, DELWP, PO Box 500, East Melbourne VIC 8002
As part of the $35 million Target One Million plan, the State Government committed to guarantee access to fishing and camping on Crown Land that has grazing licences and river frontage.
It is important to note that the public is already able to lawfully access licensed river frontages for recreation such as fishing, picnicking and hiking, just not camping, and the public currently camp in State Forests in harmony with farmers who have grazing licences.
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.
This also regularises the situation between licensed river frontages and unlicensed river frontages, State Forests and National Parks – where camping is currently permitted.
Section 401A of the Land Act 1958 enables a person to enter and remain for recreational purposes on a water frontage which has been licensed under provisions of that Act but prohibited a person from camping on the licensed land. To enable camping on licensed water frontages, the Land Act 1958 was amended to remove the prohibition on camping on licensed Crown water frontage. This legislation recently passed through Parliament, and the Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) worked in partnership with the Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning (DELWP) to develop suitable regulations to support camping at these locations from 1 September 2021.
The draft regulations include reference to matters such as how far to set up camp from the river, campfires, litter and areas that may be excluded from camping due to environmental or cultural reasons. Please note that there are currently regulations in place that govern recreational activities on crown land reserves, the new regulations seek to address the additional permitted activity of camping.
A thorough education campaign, supported by a code of conduct and an App that highlights Crown Land River Frontage access points will be implemented prior to 1 September. Authorised officers from the VFA, DELWP and Parks Victoria will carry out enforcement activities to ensure compliance with the regulations and a 24 hour hotline (13FISH) will be available for members of the public to report any illegal and/or antisocial behaviour.
To have your say on the draft regulations, click here.
In the interim, the VFA has identified several high value recreational fishing sites with access issues the Government has asked us to rectify.
Access to Crown water frontage for various recreational users (fishers, bird watchers, hikers, etc) has been limited by poor infrastructure and confusing information regarding access points.
For many of these identified sites, the issue is perception of private ownership by the licensee or adjoining private landholder.
The VFA will install access gates and signage at the entry points to Crown land as part of the project, and in time, will create a map on the VFA website/app that specifies each access point and allows people to know if they are on Crown land.
In addition, we will install directional road signs, directing the recreational user from the main road to the access point that we will create.
To date, we have improved access for fishers at 40 sites on the Goulburn River, in and around Murchison and the Goulburn Weir.
This election commitment is part of the Government’s Target One Million program to increase participation in recreational fishing in Victoria by stocking more rivers/lakes and constructing new boat ramps, fishing platforms, fish cleaning tables and car parking facilities.
Finding your nearest access points
To identify Crown land abutting Victorian rivers and lakes, check out MapShare Vic via the link below. Remember, the public can legally access licenced and unreserved Crown land, however leased Crown land does not provide public access.
Click here for further information on how the policy will be implemented, where camping is expected to occur as a result of the changes and how farm biosecurity issues will be managed.