The Demise of National Parks in Victoria

Last week in the Victorian Legislative Council (Upper House), Bev McArthur MP raised alarming concerns over National Park access during a Constituency Question.

“My constituency question is for the Minister for Environment. Parks Victoria has recently closed some of the best and most historic walking tracks in the Grampians, including Briggs Bluff, Dellys Dell, Mount Difficult and Mount Rosea. Wild camping and scrambling across rocks has also been banned. These walks are in terrific condition, but their closure and the camping ban forced tourists to the $33 million Grampians Peaks Trail at a cost of nearly $50 a night. Can the minister confirm that the closure and banning of these traditional walking paths and activities has got more to do with reducing the management needs of the park and directing people to government money-making options and say whether these changes represent the blueprint for the demise of other national parks in Victoria.”

Bev McArthur MP – 21 Feb 2023

Hansard record

Video of the question in the house

Bev McArthur expanded further in a subsequent media statement:

Media Statement: Be Alert – And Alarmed

“The Victorian Government’s increasingly draconian controls over the Grampians National Park continue to be revealed. In recent weeks, Member for Western Victoria, Bev McArthur, has questioned the Andrews Government’s ‘set-aside’ regulations for the park which effectively reverse public access rights provisioned in the National Parks Act 1975.”

Bev McArthur MP – 24 Feb 2023

While climbing groups try to improve behavior and attempt liaison with Land Councils, Parks Victoria is systematically shutting down more and more locations to all user groups. Dispersed camping is due to be banned in 2024. The only approved multi-day walks will be on the (paid) Grampians Peaks Trail.

We note that approval to build the GPT required environmental offsets. Did Parks Victoria sacrifice existing walking tracks to allow a single large track to be newly constructed through virgin bushland? We suspect that GPT deals may have brought about the closure of many of these historic walking tracks. We contend that such management practices would contravene the National Parks Act 1975.


Rock climbing is successfully managed internationally, using collaborative management methods, as described within the Victorian Climbing Management Guidelines.

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