The Andrews Labor Government’s commitment this week that it will remove boat ramp parking and launching fees by spring raises more questions than it answers.
The detail of Labor’s pre-election promise to remove these fees is still murky, despite calls from councils and the sector for clarity.
Many councils – particularly in rural and regional Victoria – do not charge these fees meaning the Minister’s promise will effectively only remove the fees for a handful of bayside metropolitan councils that were charging these fees for maintenance purposes, leaving many rural and regional councils, and their ratepayers, at an incredibly unfair disadvantage.
For example, Mornington Shire (that has six ramps) will receive half a million dollars from the State and Hobson’s Bay (two ramps) will receive $356,000 from Daniel Andrews’ coffers, but East Gippsland Shire, that has to maintain 24 ramps and car parks – and does so from general revenue – will receive nothing.
This is duplicated across the state where only councils that already charge fees to cover maintenance will be subsidised, while regional and rural shires that have, through goodwill, not charged fees will miss out.
This city-centric Labor Government needs to have a fair system, not yet another policy that disadvantages Regional Victorians.
Shadow Minister for Fishing and Boating