BIAV and VRFish Develop Joint Submission in Response to Safe and Accessible Victorian Waterways Discussion
Following the release of the Safe and Accessible Victorian Waterways discussion paper, the Boating Industry Association of Victoria (BIAV), together with VRFish, the peak body for Victorian recreational fishing, have developed a joint submission in response to the Safe and Accessible Victorian Waterways Discussion.
BIAV and VRFish welcomed the review of Victoria’s coastal planning legislation, management structures, priorities and future funding, which is covered in the Safe and Accessible Victorian Waterways discussion paper.
With the projected doubling of the population in the central coast area of Victoria, including Port Phillip and Western Port Bay, from 4.6 million to nearly 8 million by 2050, this places an imperative on the future planning and investment on Victoria’s coastal areas to consider the environment, access to water and the role of our coastal areas, bays and waterways in Victoria’s economic and social fabric.
In addition the capacity of public recreational boat launching facilities in Victoria is far exceeded by demand, with the situation evident across Port Phillip and Western Port Bays, where it has been established that only 3.5% of registered recreational boats can be accommodated at any one time.
The joint submission also notes the importance of providing funding for regional inland boating infrastructure and safe harbors at regional coastal locations to ensure launching and retrieval of boats can be conducted in a safe and appropriate manner.
In their joint submission, both BIAV and VRFish attribute several hindrances to the management of Victoria’s waterways:
- The complex management structure put in place two decades ago by the State Government devolving responsibility for overall recreational boating strategies to a complex number of different agencies and local bodies; and
- The fact that successive governments have failed to return revenues collected from recreational boating registration and license fees to the provision of boating infrastructure and services.
As response the BIAV and VRFish have provided several strategic directions they believe will help address the opportunities and challenges facing the recreational use of Victorian waterways including:
- The move to establish a single stand-alone body to develop and implement the provision of recreational boating infrastructure which is well-resourced, funded and efficiently maintained; and
- The establishment of a user pays model called a Blue Infrastructure Fund which could be applied to maintain infrastructure and facilities just to name a few.
Both the BIAV and VRFish thank the State Government and appreciate the opportunity to provide feedback to the Safe and Accessible Victorian Waterways Discussion, and look forward to working towards ensuring safe and positive experiences for recreational users of Victoria’s waterways with the State Government.