ACAV Meeting Report 20th August 2019
Held at Parks Victoria Bourke Street and Halls Gap offices via video conferencing link.
Six months after the announcement of the world’s most extensive rock climbing bans in the Grampians National Park, our land manager Parks Victoria held a Rock Climbing Round Table meeting on Tuesday 20th August 2019.
This long overdue consultation has been prompted by mounting pressure on the land manager from a respectful yet insistent climbing community. Climbers have made strong representations across many platforms in support of climbing as a respected and beneficial activity.
ACAV members will be interested to know the key issues under discussion. We have been asked to omit direct quotations from this meeting and be mindful of any sensitive items. Hence we have not spoken for other rock climbing attendees. Parks Victoria will be issuing formal minutes within a week or two. These were the main items under discussion.
|Parks Victoria Representatives|
|Jeff Floyd||Parks Victoria, Chairman|
|Stuart Hughes||Parks Victoria|
|Carol Nichols||Parks Victoria|
|Lucy Marshall||Parks Victoria|
|Simon Talbot||Parks Victoria|
|Adam Merrick||Western Victorian Climbing Club|
|Andrew Knight||Outdoors Victoria|
|Coralie Reich||RMIT Outdoors Club|
|Jackson Freeman||La Trobe University Mountaineering Club|
|Mike Tomkins||Australian Climbing Association Victoria|
|Paula Toal||Victorian Climbing Club|
|Philip Goebel||Sport Climbing Victoria|
|Romain Thevenot||Sport Climbing Australia|
|Mark Dingle||Deloitte Australia|
ACAV Meeting Notes
- Jeff Floyd, Parks Victoria Chairman hosted the meeting.
- Parks Victoria invited rock climbing representatives on the basis of their involvement in the Founding Council.
- An independent facilitator, Mark Dingle (Deloitte Australia) chaired the meeting.
- The meeting agenda was open ended.
- Parks Victoria expressed surprise at the scale of the bans, the global importance of Grampians rock climbing and the depth of concern within the climbing community.
- Parks Victoria expressed a willingness to facilitate wider discussions on Grampians rock climbing under this forum, to bring Traditional Owners and rock climbers together. It was noted that the Traditional Owners are contemplating this possibility.
- Parks Victoria will provide information at the next round table meeting regarding ongoing archaeological survey work in the Grampians. This is to give the rock climbing community some insight into the relevant cultural heritage issues.
- Parks Victoria stated a clear motivation to support rock climbing under a Healthy Parks, Healthy People strategy.
- ACAV requested the proactive assistance of Parks Victoria in the major task of rehabilitating the reputation of climbers in Victoria, following the events of the last six months.
- ACAV welcomed this initiative to begin comprehensive consultation with the rock climbing community.
- ACAV proposed the major objective of creating a Victorian Climbing Management Plan as an Appendix to the 2021 Grampians Landscape Management Plan. This ACAV draft document is in progress. Community consultation phase to follow. ACAV to be a paid consultant to clarify the legal status of the VCMP within the GLMP.
- ACAV stated that cliff-by-cliff risk assessment works were under way, initially as a desktop exercise using climbing community expertise. This is to mitigate known environmental risks to ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management standards. To be expanded to cover cultural heritage risks subject to further knowledge.
- An executive summary of the ACAV Environmental Action Plan will be forwarded to Parks Victoria for review.
- ACAV suggested that it would be beneficial for a senior Parks Victoria representative to undertake an overseas study visit to a rock climbing location that has successfully managed rock climbing in a similar context with cultural heritage and environmental challenges.
- ACAV offered existing research data into climbing visitation in the Grampians and offered to assist with the promotion of climbing in a sustainable manner.
- ACAV reiterated a request for ACAV representation on the Stakeholder Reference Group panel for the proposed Grampians Landscape Management Plan process. The single place available has been granted to Paula Toal as the assumed representative of the Founding Council. ACAV noted that the Founding Council is at concept stage and that it holds no authority in the area of climbing access. Furthermore there has been no selection process for the leadership of the Founding Council as there is no membership to formulate a vote. ACAV has been denied a place on the Stakeholder Reference Group and will raise this issue at a later date.
- This meeting is likely to be the first in a series of Rock Climbing Round Table meetings. Follow up meeting to be advised, likely to be in 4 weeks’ time.