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.

Where do you stand on calling Parks Victoria to account?

David Limbrick and Tim Quilty of the Liberal Democrats want to debate this issue on Wednesday in the Victorian Legislative Council (the Upper House) on behalf of climbers and other park users. The proposed “Lockouts Motion” is shown attached. It would be interesting to know what our elected representatives decide when the recent actions of Parks Victoria are examined carefully.

David and Tim need the votes of most of the cross benchers to bring about the debate. It’s a long shot, so they are relying on strong community support to explain the situation to the following Members:

Please email the Legislative Council members below with a personal message, supporting the lockout motion and explaining the impact of the lockouts from your perspective. You can also contact the Members via their Facebook pages.

Samantha Ratnam (Greens) : samantha.ratnam@parliament.vic.gov.au
Rod Barton (Transport Matters) : rod.barton@parliament.vic.gov.au
Tania Maxwell (Hinch Justice) : tania.maxwell@parliament.vic.gov.au
Stuart Grimley (Hinch Justice) : stuart.grimley@parliament.vic.gov.au
Catherine Cumming (Independent) : catherine.cumming@parliament.vic.gov.au
Jeff Bourman (Shooters, Farmers & Fishers) : jeff.bourman@parliament.vic.gov.au
Clifford Hayes (Sustainable Australia) : clifford.hayes@parliament.vic.gov.au
Andy Meddick (Animal Justice) : andy.meddick@parliament.vic.gov.au
Fiona Patten (Reason) : fiona.patten@parliament.vic.gov.au
David Davis (Leader of the Liberal Party in the upper house) : david.davis@parliament.vic.gov.au

Please do this urgently; the debate is planned for Wednesday 19th June. If you haven’t joined the ACAV yet, now would be a good time. Climbing everywhere is under threat. An extra donation to our Access Fund would be much appreciated if this issue is important to you. Please share.

5 thoughts on “Lockout Debate – Please Contact Legislative Council Members

  1. Just read the above document and am now embarrassed to call myself a climber. The document seems to entrench an attitude of entitlement and demonstrates a complete lack of accountability for damage done by climbers. I started climbing in 1968 and have lived through the almost the entire gamut of climbing styles and ethics. I wish I would have contacted traditional owners way back then and after countless ascents at every major crag in Australia and many overseas, I am proud to say that I have never used chalk nor placed any bolts. I hate to see chalk stains over beautiful rock. I am appalled by the number of bolts in National Park cliffs. I continue to be irritated by garbage at cliff bases and vegetation pulled out of cracks or flattened by bouldering mats. If a climber of 50 years experience is not happy with the present day state of climbing imagine how much worse it must seem to other bush users, indigenous groups and park managers. A bit of respect and humility might actually help! The inflammatory language of the document in question seems to echo the horrid, aggressive and intolerant attitudes of the far right. Maybe you should consider offering some apologies, some concessions and some genuine attempts to curb and reverse environmental and cultural damage. I certainly do not want to have the racist, sexist, climate change denying Liberal Democratic Party speak for me or to masquerade as friends of climbers. Seems to me that all they really want to do is to use the present circumstances to further their own political purposes. Climbers should start from square one and think for themselves.


  2. Thanks for your feedback Ian. No bolts, no chalk is a hard line purist stance that is difficult to impose in 2019. What do you suggest we do to advocate for climbing? I’m not entering into debate on entitlement or political persuasion. We are working on risk assessments and climbing management plans. All input appreciated. We are also working hard to engage with Aboriginal Victoria and Traditional Owners. As you can image it’s complicated. Constructive advice and contributory work is welcome


  3. Thanks for your perspective Ian. I have only been climbing for 20 years, so can’t claim your own sense of entitlement or superiority. When you started, you weren’t hindered back then to explore and enjoy nature. You went where you thought there would be good climbing and just climbed rocks, with your sense of adventure (or perhaps friends) guiding you. You didn’t need permits and weren’t denied access to the areas you climbed. In fact, almost all of the areas you would have climbed (if you climbed in the Grampians) would now be banned. While you might not have used chalk, many of your peers used chalk. Standards were much lowers in the 1960’s and safety and protection equipment was not what it is today. The climbing also wasn’t as technical. Even then, some routes in the 1960’s had bolts (mostly for aid). Climbers need bolts on some climbs to make them safe.
    Climbers have also been responsible for track work and rehabilitation of many climbing areas. All you need to do is look at photo’s of mount Arapiles in the 70’s to realize how much work has been done by climbers and Parks Vic to rehabilitate the environment. I think in this whole debate there is a lack of acknowledgement of the work done by climbers in collaboration with Parks Vic in the past and an almost pathological hatred of climbers based on an assumption (that climbers damaged or have defaced aboriginal art) that is not founded or based on any evidence (apart from some comments Simon Talbot made on ABC radio). This means that we can’t negotiate with Parks Vic.
    This loss of access has to be fought at a political level as negotiations with Parks Vic is not going to lead to any progress. Release of FOI information has shown that this plan to ban climbers was made before they started even banning areas, and that the bans have been extended according to their plans. They also have no intention of including climbers as stakeholders. Fabrication of evidence such as photo’s uploaded to their web site also means that evidence presented by Parks Vic can’t be trusted or considered accurate. I am almost certain that the “quarry” status of the gallery for example is not backed up by an independent assessment from an appropriately qualified archaeologist. Having visited the gallery on several occasions in the past and having studied geology, I find it hard to believe that the rock there would be used for quarrying of any sort. I also wouldn’t put fabrication of evidence past Parks Vic, and am glad I have photo’s dating back several years which include the rocks that are present at the site to validate any “evidence” presented.
    The only option then, is to try get access through other channels. Personally, I would support ANY political party or politician that made an effort to help climbers. Maybe you can approach your local Green party candidate (I’m assuming from your post that you vote green) to put forward a proposal in parliament for debate instead. At least the liberal democrats are prepared to put the motion before parliament for debate.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Ian,

    I’m interested to know whether you consider white stains on the rock that are caused by bird/bat droppings or other natural processes are a blight on the beautiful rock? I suggest that it’s not white chalk stains that you object too, it’s the fact that they were caused by humans.

    All humans have an impact on natural systems that they interact with. Every time we drive to a crag or eat our lunch it is an the expense of the natural environment. We cannot stop this nor should we try to, its about management.

    Rock climbing and other outdoor activity connect humans with nature which is vitally important. A relatively minuscule amount of chalk staining is a small price to pay to connect humans with nature in my humble opinion.

    Kind regards, Ben


  5. I do think we will need to pay to climb in most places in the future, I’m personally willing and so are others I speak to.
    One proactive thing has been on my mind for a while (20 years), maybe we need some sort of nationally recognised training/induction about the land we climb on and how to climb ethicis.
    Just my thoughts.


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