ACAV Committee Update: July

Following the ACAV Annual General Meeting on 11th July, the ACAV Executive Committee held its initial committee meeting on Wednesday 24th July 2019. Below are some key messages and updates that were emailed to ACAV members last week.
There is also a post on the ACAV website outlining key strategy documents which we are encouraging members to become involved in – more info at the bottom of this update.

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Licensed Tour Operator Meeting: Regarding SDV 16th July 2019

The following meeting report describes the convoluted negotiations that occurred in attempts by Parks Victoria to keep Licensed Tour Operators running climbing activities at Summerday Valley. It’s a rambling tale that is still being played out.

If you want a snapshot of the the meeting outcome, scroll to the end for the “bookable sites” images that Parks Victoria issued on 29th July.

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Influence policy development. Have your say.

It is important to ensure the benefits of climbing and related activities are on the political agenda and recognised at the policy level. The following strategies are currently open for consultation. The ACAV is preparing submissions for each of these and are seeking interested volunteers with experience in submission writing to assist. Please get in touch via [email protected]

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Freedom of Information – Parks Victoria Communications

ACAV has received the first of two Freedom of Information (FOI) requests that were submitted earlier this year. 

ACAV pursued the FOI avenue due to the lack of information available about the rationale for the wide sweeping rock climbing bans across the Grampians National Park. There were efforts to obtain information directly from Parks Victoria however responses were not forthcoming.  

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Lockout Debate – Please Contact Legislative Council Members

Parks Victoria: Friend or Foe? Noble protectors of our public parks or lazy land managers, locking people out rather than working on solutions? As climbers, should we cosy up to PV in the hope of a few crumbs of comfort in the future or do we kick up an almighty fuss about the vilification of climbers and the biggest climbing lockout in history? This debate has been going on for a while and the climbing community has been somewhat divided.

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Minister Lily D’Ambrosio has been misinformed

On 6th June, Minister D’Ambrosio responded to the parliamentary question lodged in May by David Limbrick MP and the response certainly has many of our members, the climbing community and everyone at ACAV headquarters exceptionally concerned.

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Either the Minister has been misinformed by her staff and Parks Victoria, or she is deliberately obfuscating.

Mr Limbrick’s original request was via a parliamentary question which aimed to get to the bottom of the reasons for the bans which were initiated by Parks Victoria in February 2019. Mr Limbrick asked the question, directly to the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change during Parliament. ACAV worked with Mr Limbrick to structure a question which aimed to finally bring some clarity to the bans, as reasons for the bans appeared to be incorrect. Parks Victoria had quoted that climbers specifically were causing damage to cultural art and the environment and this was the basis for implementing the largest bans to climbing in the world. There is no question that any interaction with nature will have some impact. However, ACAV are adamantly contesting the impact that is underpinning these bans. Our friends over at Save Grampians Climbing undertook a #FactChecking mission which dispelled the “evidence based” reasons for the exclusion of rock climbing across large parts of Gariwerd. The evidence simply does not exist.

Off the back of this week’s meeting with the minister’s office (see report here), ACAV conclude that Minister D’Ambrosio has been misinformed.

David Limbrick – Two Further Questions to The Minister, 7th June 2019

David Limbrick MP has submitted two further parliamentary questions yesterday June 7 and now we are awaiting answers from the Minister’s Office. The questions were put forward by ACAV and then perfectly framed in the political context by Mr Limbrick.

The questions asked by Mr Limbrick can be found here.

The second question (are the bans legal, Minister?) targets very specific items of the Ministers responsibilities in respect to correct execution of the National Parks Act. The Gariwerd Special Protection Areas either impose a ban on climbing or they do not. ACAV has prepared a research paper on this subject. The Minister would be well advised to seek legal counsel before answering this question.

ACAV has asked for a meeting with Minister D’Ambrosio directly to discuss our concerns about how this issue is being managed. ACAV advised the Ministers Office at the meeting on Wednesday that we are working on a GARIWERD CLIMBING MANAGEMENT PLAN which draws in best practice climbing site management from established rock climbing locations around the world. This plan will ensure that climbing activities promote and enhance care for the environment and cultural heritage now, and into the future for generations to come. The opportunities for Reconciliation are plain to see with rock climbers as stewards and allies in the protection of cultural heritage and environmental values.

ACAV has engaged with Aboriginal Victoria and a senior staff member from that organization is now assisting ACAV to understand and navigate the cultural landscape with Traditional Owners.

The government respondent to Mr Limbrick’s powerful questions yesterday was fortuitously the Hon. Gavin Jennings, Special Minister of State, Minister for Priority Precincts and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. We look forward to assisting Minister Jennings along with Minister D’Ambrosio and we have requested a meeting to discuss these issues.