ACAV Meeting with Climbing Community Representatives

On Wednesday 18 September, the ACAV hosted a meeting with representatives from various Victorian climbing related clubs, organisations and businesses.

The objective of the meeting was to share with the representatives of the Victorian climbing community, the purpose of the ACAV and what the ACAV have been working on with regards to access issues and to request for any feedback from and collaboration with the representatives.

Representatives from the following clubs, organisations and businesses were present:

  • ACAV
  • Bogong Equipment
  • Melbourne University Mountaineering Club
  • Outdoors Victoria
  • Project Climbing
  • RMIT Outdoor Club
  • Sport Climbing Australia
  • Sport Climbing Victoria
  • Victorian Climbing Club

The full list of invitees can be found here.

The agenda for the meeting was as follows:

1.      Welcome

2.      Who is on the ACAV Committee

3.      What is the ACAV all about?

4.      Key Current Activities

a.  Legal situation and Parks Victoria

b.  Climbing Management Plan

5.      Working with other Victorian climbing organisations 

  • Clubs
  • Founding Body
  • Parks Victoria Climbing Roundtable Meetings

The meeting was well received and informative for attending representatives with many participating in meaningful discussions.

Key  points of the meeting were as follows:

Access is a Three Legged Stool

There are three main supporting legs of climbing access. These are Political, Legal and Stewardship.

The ACAV was formed to tackle the legal and political components around access. The ACAV Access Fund is for funding legal activity. Not stewardship. Stewardship is the role of clubs for education and awareness, track building and maintenance and social activities. 

Legal and Political Activities

ACAV is aiming to create legal and political pressure to ensure access is regained in a timely way. We have no voting power, but we can create noise. Political pressure from above can influence land managers to work with us. Shortly after a Question in Parliament was raised, the rock climbing  round table was set up to engage the climbing community. 

At the same time, ACAV are applying legal pressure. A legal letter was sent to Parks Victoria on 2 September which has resulted in the ACAV scheduled to meet with Parks Victoria Chief Operating Officer, Simon Talbot, Legal Services Manager John Stevens and Director Park Planning and Policy Stuart Hughes.

Climbing Management Plan (CMP) incorporated into the Grampians Landscape Management Plan (GLMP) for 2020

With the consultation workshops for the GLMP underway, having a Climbing Management Plan attached as an appendix would ensure that recreational climbing is embedded as an accepted recreational activity in the Grampians National Park.

The GLMP will be signed off by all three Traditional Owner groups with an interest in the Park, and so it would be in the interest of the climbing community to have the groups involved in the process of a CMP.

All representatives at the meeting agreed that the CMP would need to be created as a community with open consultation and feedback. Expert knowledge from the community will be required for the CMP in the areas of Climbing Knowledge (Trad/Sport/Bouldering), Environmental and Archeological. What this process would look like would need to be determined collaboratively by Victorian climbing representatives.

Bringing the Climbing Community Together

The climbing community as a whole have a common goal of resolving the access issues in the Grampians National Park. As a community, we need to have a strong united voice with consistent messaging in order to have the best chance of working alongside Traditional Owners and Land Managers. 

Traditional Owner Messaging

The ACAV along with all representatives agreed that the climbing community need to find a common ground with Traditional Owners. The key message that we, as a community, want to deliver is that climbers want to protect cultural heritage, we do not want to do any harm.

Legislation and Plans 

There is a misconception that climbing was banned by the 2003 Grampians Management Plan. Anything within the plan needs to be enacted by regulations and acts. As these were not properly enacted, climbing was not banned. Management plans are somewhat of a ‘wish list’ which can be implemented at any time, but must be done in accordance with the act and regulations. In order to ban an activity, you need signage to enforce a regulation/act. Without the signage, the bans cannot be considered legal. Please refer to the ACAV presentation for a more detailed overview on this topic.

Can we climb in SPAs?

Until the ACAV case set out in our legal letter is tested in a court of law, the ACAV cannot advise that climbing in these locations is not prohibited. PV’s Legal Manager recently stated that “it is only at these 8 sites, where the signage is in place, that PV is currently undertaking enforcement activities pursuant to the Regulations”. Whilst some people have already gone back into SPAs. ACAV encourages everyone to cooperate with rangers and to be respectful.

Next Round Table Meeting

The next rock climbing round table meeting is scheduled for early October. Prior to this meeting, the facilitator engaged by Parks Victoria, Mark Dingle, requested that each representative group send through a list of their top 10 climbing areas for cultural assessment.

It was felt by all representatives that this list is too significant to rush through and needs to be carefully considered. No one from the Founding Council had yet submitted their priority list and representatives in attendance agreed to discuss this further and work collaboratively. Two key questions that need to be answered by Parks Victoria regarding the request for these sites are:

  1. What is the reason for this list?
  2. How are you going to use it?

The potential to add additional representatives to the round table meetings was also discussed as it was agreed that the round table participants were lacking representatives in the following areas:

  • Bouldering
  • Licensed Tour Operators
  • Guide Book Writers Guild
  • Archeological/Environment

The ACAV will draft a letter to the facilitator to make the request for additional representatives as well as request that the round table participants do not submit their top 10 climbing areas for assessment until a process for this has been discussed. The letter will also include a request for more Traditional Owner involvement at the round table meetings. The draft of this letter will be sent to all representatives for feedback before being sent to the Parks Victoria facilitator. 

You can view the full slide show presented by the ACAV here.


ACAV Committee

Climbers Voice – 1st Edition

The first edition of the Australian Climbing Association (ACA) national publication, Climbers Voice, is now available for download. 

Climbers Voice is a biannual publication providing the Australian climbing community with news, views and stories related to climbing access and advocacy and to help protect our climbing areas.

In this edition:

  • Climbing Advocacy: The ACA & A Vision for the Future
  • Do the Right Thing: Climbing Etiquette
  • Kids on the Rocks: Climbing is a Family Affair
  • Grampians Climbing Bans
  • Arapiles: Trouble in Paradise?
  • Five Codes of Ethics: Bouldering
  • Tibrogargan: A Sentinel of Lost Wilderness
  • Stewards/Advocates/Affiliates

Please consider making a donation to the ACAV Access Fund and  towards the protection of rock climbing areas.

ACAV welcomes any feedback from the climbing community via the contact form on our website.


ACAV Committee

Donate to the ACAV Access Fund, Get Cool Stuff!

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.

Click here to purchase your ACAV T-shirt today.

ACAV Raffle – AWESOME Prizes!

Thanks to the generous support of local businesses and individuals we have some amazing prizes up for grabs!

Raffle Tickets are $5 each with the winners to be drawn at the Victorian State Bouldering Titles on Saturday 21 September at Northside Brunswick.


  • Osprety Mutant 22L back pack
  • $100 Voucher – Cilmbing Anchors
  • $100 Voucher – Rock Hardware
  • 1 Month Membership – Urban Climb Collingwood
  • Camp Jaspter CRB Verde Harness – Medium
  • Urban Climb Beanie & Chalk Bag
  • Rock Empire Screwgate Biner, Camp Orbit Wiregate Biner

Click here to purchase your raffle tickets to be in the draw!

Thank you to the following businesses and individuals who donated prizes to our raffle:

  • Climbing Anchors – Collingwood
  • Paddy Pallin’s – Lt Bourke St
  • Rock Hardware Bendigo
  • David Willing
  • Urban Climb Collingwood

FOI 3 – Six Month Wait for Two Pages

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.

This is the decision letter

This is the “information”

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

ACAV Reaches Out To Other Victorian Climbing Organisations

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

  1. Welcome
  2. Who is on the ACAV Committee
  3. What is the ACAV all about?
  4. Key Current Activities:
  • Legal situation and Parks Victoria
  • Climbing Management Plan

5.      Working with other Victorian climbing organisations:

  • Clubs
  • Founding Body
  • 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

Adventure Guides Australia
Alpenverein Melbourne
Alpine SAR
Bayside Rock
Bogong Equipment
Cliffhanger Climbing Gym
Climbing QTs
Gravity Worx
Hanging Out
Hardrock Climbing Gym
La Roca Boulders
La Trobe University Mountaineering Club
Melbourne University Mountaineering Club
Monash University Outdoor Club
Mount Bogong Club
Mountain Sports Collective
New Zealand Alpine Club
North Walls Climbing Gym
Northside Boulders
Outdoors Victoria
RMIT Outdoor Club
Sport and Recreation Victoria
Sport Climbing Australia
Sport Climbing Victoria
Swinburne Explorers Club
The Crag
Urban Climb
Vertical Life
Victorian Climbing Club
Western Victorian Climbing Club
The Wilderness Shop

Grampians Set-Aside Determination Concerning Rock Climbing

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.

Please show your support by becoming an ACAV member join via this link

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.