Campers will be able to set up tents or roll out swags within 100 metres of the home of Murray River property owner Lynne Riley and her family and stay for almost a month without prior permission under controversial legislation already passed by the Victorian government.
Mrs Riley, who lives at Carlyle near Rutherglen with Crown land frontage to the river, said the state government had used the "cover of COVID" to rush through the new arrangements beginning September 1 with a six-week consultation period presently underway a token response to concerns being raised.
"The Premier has been given carte blanche to do whatever he likes and he is," she said.
"What has happened here flies in the face of democracy.
"Even though they want us to keep paying rental on (the Crown land) he wants us to do the public liability, wait on people by cleaning up before they come and after they go, in an area where there are no toilets.
"What is being forgotten here is we are running a business, but they are allowing people to camp 100 metres from our house in unlimited numbers and stay for 28 days."
Mrs Riley and her husband breed expensive wagyu beef cattle on their Shaws Flat Road farm, which has been in her family for more than 130 years, and unlimited access to campers opens up a multitude of biosecurity concerns.
"Our biosecurity will be completely removed and we will not be able to sell any of our stock overseas," she said.
"This is total insanity.
"This whole thing was backed by Shooters, Farmers and Fishers Party and it is purely for leisure and farmers have been forgotten about."
On a separate front, Towong Shire is mobilising a working party to look at the impact of the legislation on landowners and local government.
Cr Aaron Scales, who lives at Dartmouth, said the shire was also raising the issue as a matter of urgency with the Municipal Association of Victoria board of management and Rural Councils Victoria..
"It is about keeping the pressure on and coming up with realistic plans into the future as in cleaning up other areas that are easily accessible for camping," he said.
"They need to be cleaning up the areas (the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning) already have control of with easy access to the river.
"We need to make them more attractive places because I can't see us having the ability to overturn legislation.
"It's a way better outcome than having people wandering through someone's paddocks.
"It's got implications for local government also because who is going to maintain these road reserves."
Meanwhile, Mitta North's Judy Cardwell confirmed the issue was already creating concerns among insurers.
"We have phoned our farm insurer and asked them if we would be covered for public liability under this new free for all," she said.
"They had never heard of the new law and were horrified and said they would not provide cover for recreational activities under a farm policy.
"Makes you wonder if we are covered for fishermen just walking along now.
"I phoned another insurer and their response was the same.
"Another one said they would back their customers, but thought it sounded crazy and that the government would be leaving themselves wide open to litigation."
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