ACAV are now kicking off their fundraising drive in an effort to top up the Access Fund!!
ACAV T-Shirts Now Available
To kick off the fundraising, we now have Blue ACAV T-shirts for sale. Be quick to place your order as there are only a limited number available. T-shirts are $40 each and available in Men’s and Women’s sizes.
On March 6th 2019, before ACAV was a twinkle in anyone’s eye, I worked with a legal friend to put in three Freedom of Information Requests to Parks Victoria. We requested impact studies relating to Grampians rock climbing along with all relevant rock climbing related communications with Aboriginal Victoria and Traditional Owners.
Now, six months later we received a response to the third and final FOI request.
What is going on in our government agencies when they can get away with this flagrant contravention of the Freedom of Information Act 1982?
This response is 5 months late and only two out of 172 relevant pages are provided in full.
Our legal boffins will pick the bones out of this meagre information and we may come up with a few avenues of opportunity to encourage Parks Victoria to protect the Grampians properly in the future. Putting up a handful of signs banning climbers does not protect cultural and environmental values.
We have all seen the damage that continues to be done by day-visitors and feral animals. Come on Parks Victoria – we have a raft of environmental initiatives that you have so far ignored.
Eagle eyed ACAV members are welcome to assist and comment.
We will ensure that our government agencies are held to account, one way or another. This is my new favourite word:
We have a major challenge ahead of us. Please consider making a donation to the access fund
The ACAV believes that all climbing clubs, groups, associations and businesses can work together as a united front to promote climbing as a healthy, environmental and culturally minded activity.
Next week on Wednesday 18 September, the ACAV will be hosting a meeting for all Victorian climbing clubs and related organisations and business to come and learn more about who and what the ACAV are.
This initiative is to share with key stakeholders in our climbing community, the purpose of the ACAV and what the ACAV have been working on with regards to access issues.
The agenda is as follows
Who is on the ACAV Committee
What is the ACAV all about?
Key Current Activities:
Legal situation and Parks Victoria
Climbing Management Plan
5. Working with other Victorian climbing organisations:
Parks Victoria Climbing Round table Meetings
The invitation has been sent to all committee members of the following clubs, organisations and businesses. If your club is not represented in this list or you are a committee member of one of those below but have not received an email invitation, feel welcome to email the ACAV secretary via [email protected]
The ACAV Committee believes that Parks Victoria displayed major bureaucratic overreach in February 2019 by instituting Grampians rock climbing prohibitions. This episode has far-reaching consequences for the public good in terms of access to public lands for everyone. There is far more to this story than contained within the legal domain and we are at a critical point for future generations. Many user groups are facing similar lockouts from public lands.
The exclusion of respectful park users is a great detriment to park management and an opportunity has so far been missed to blend the knowledge of the Traditional Owners into genuine and collaborative park management. Respectful and knowledgeable park users are the natural allies of the Traditional Owners in seeking to bring future generations together to celebrate culture and the environment in a spirit of mutual respect and understanding.
On 25th July 2019, ACAV received this letter from the Manager, Legal Services of Parks Victoria in response to our requests for the reasons behind the Grampians climbing prohibitions.
In response, the ACAV has funded formal legal advice regarding the legality of the set aside determination used by Parks Victoria to prohibit rock climbing at various locations within the Grampians. We would like to thank ACAV members and supporters whose membership fees and donations have contributed to obtaining this advice.
Following advice from Senior Counsel, a letter from our lawyers was issued to Parks Victoria on Monday 2nd September 2019, asserting that the set aside determination is invalid and proposing that the set aside determination should be revoked. You can read the full letter here.
In simple terms the letter conveys that:
1. The climbing prohibitions are invalid as they currently stand.
2. The climbing prohibitions are “legally unreasonable” and “disproportionate to the supposed mischief to be addressed”.
The letter gives Parks Victoria seven days to provide a substantive response, without which we have instructed our lawyers to commence proceedings for a judicial review.
The ACAV will continue to provide updates on a regular basis as information comes to hand and when we have a better idea of the position Parks Victoria wants to take towards the ACAV and Grampians climbing access.
With the potential for the requirement of additional legal counsel and fees, we need your help to top up the ACAV Access Fund. To assist with the incursion of future costs, please consider giving an extra donation via this link.
The ACAV Committee would like to thank the climbing community for its continued support and commitment to resolving access issues in the Grampians.