Greater Gariwerd Grampians Management Plan – A Practical Review

The Plan was published in November 2021 and it is likely to remain active for 15 years.

Ethan Pringle on The Groove Train (33) on Taipan Wall in the Grampians (photo : Simon Carter)

Sadly, Parks Victoria has failed to genuinely consult over the new climbing rules.  Parks Victoria has recently informed us that “Consultation continues, with Parks Victoria regularly meeting with the newly established Climbing Victoria Advisory Council.” This organisation does not exist.

Several practical and legal failings affect the proposed rules:

  1. Many of the “open” cliffs cannot be accessed via the proposed “designated tracks” under the proposals to limit off-track walking.
  2. The “closed” cliffs are not identified anywhere in the plan.
  3. The mapping provided by Parks Victoria is inadequate. Climbers remain unaware of key location details.
  4. Widespread closure signage is impractical, yet it is required by law, to clearly identify the hundreds of “closed” locations.
  5. If Parks Victoria went ahead and issued climbing permits, they would become legally responsible for bolt integrity and bouldering pad safety. In the event of a serious accident, any disclaimers would be deemed invalid in court.
  6. The provision of only 13 bouldering locations will lead to overcrowding.
  7. Coloured chalk is impractical – see title photo.
  8. Discriminating against and excluding one user group (climbers), runs contrary to Parks Victoria’s responsibilities under the National Parks Act.
  9. Parks Victoria must demonstrate “evidence-based park management” under their Statement of Obligations. Their Archaeological reporting does not meet this standard (referred to the Auditor General).
  10. Parks Victoria cannot issue a legal infringement notice for climbing or walking in the wrong places and hence cannot police the new climbing rules.

Climbers and boulderers seeking clarification will be disappointed and they face a choice to either selectively break rules or continue to stay away from the Grampians.

Recent correspondence from Parks Victoria has been dismissive i.e. read the Plan.

ACAV remains available for consultation and will continue to support its members.

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In this election year, you are encouraged to email your local member of parliament to make your feelings known on this issue. Lily D’Ambrosio is the Victorian Minister responsible for this portfolio lily.dambrosio@parliament.vic.gov.au

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Ongoing feedback and assistance is always welcome: acav@climb.org.au

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