State government report on free camping on council land delayed

AGM: The 2017 LGAT annual general meeting.
AGM: The 2017 LGAT annual general meeting.

A report clarifying the regulations surrounding free camping on council land has been delayed by two months. 

The report, prepared by a steering committee led by the Tasmanian Treasury, was supposed to be handed to the Local Government Association of Tasmanian in June so it could be discussed at its July 25 annual general meeting.

The report is now expected in August.

“The time frame was extended due to a request from local government members of the working group for further matters to be considered,” a state government spokeswoman said.

LGAT passed a motion at its March meeting to seek clarification on the legality of free camping on council land. 

National Competition Policy, which is enforced by the state government and Tasmanian Economic Regulator, dictates that it is illegal to offer free camping as it impinges on private businesses. 

However, there is inconsistent enforcement of the rule, with some councils offering free camping and others not. 

Northern Midlands mayor David Downie said he was a “little disappointed” the state government report had been delayed. 

“All tourists are important to our economy and we need to find a way to cater for them whether they are travelling with self-contained facilities or people who use caravan parks,” he said.

LGAT chief executive Katrena Stephenson said one of the major issues was there were two types of campers.

She said free council camping areas were only suitable for self-contained vehicles, while RV parks provide other amenities. 

“There’s a difficulty to find the balance between rightss of private companies, but also recognising there is a new market,” she said.