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Crown land campsites creating ‘anxiety’ for farmers

One section of crown land currently being assessed as a potential campsite is near the Brunton family’s 106-year-old Vite Vite North farm near Skipton, which has frontage to the Mt Emu Creek.The Bruntons are concerned that opening a campsite could have negative outcomes for vulnerable native species, farm insurance liability, farm biosecurity and campsite safety and maintenance near their property. David Brunton said his parents, Steven and Karin, had little notification from DELWP about the process, receiving only a letter 10 days before a mandatory inspection and a phone call two hours before officers arrived at their property unscheduled. “We have looked after the crown land reserve for 50 years. We have paid to lease the land off the government and now the possibility of littering, trespassing and destruction have been thrust upon us,” Mr Brunton said. “If the assessment is approved, it is going to be highly disruptive and is going to give us a lot of anxiety. What if someone is hurt or injured while camping there?”There are also concerns about opening the crown land site adjoining the Brunton’s farm as it is critical habitat for threatened frog and skink species. The 271km Mt Emu Creek is the main tributary to the Hopkins River and provides habitat to threatened species including the Growling Grass Frog, Corangamite Water Skink and Striped Legless Lizard according to the Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority. Premier Daniel Andrews made a 2018 election promise to open water frontages to campers and now months out from the 2022 election DELWP is searching for sites between Ballarat and Hexham.In February farmers along the Upper Murray, Goulburn, Broken, Ovens, Mitta Mitta, Campaspe and Loddon rivers also said the state government left them in limbo.“All potential campsites are subject to a thorough and consistent assessment process, to ensure important cultural, environmental, public safety and other regulatory matters are considered at each site,” a Victorian Government spokesman said.DELWP is assessing further sites along the Goulburn, Broken, Ovens, Campaspe, Loddon, Mitta Mitta and other Victorian river systems for inclusion in the program.The department said it would contact the Brunton family only if the assessment progressed to the next stage.NED-4522-The-Weekly-Times-Newsletter-banner

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