CVAC Update on key rock climbing topics December 2022
Parks Victoria and the Climbing Victoria Advisory Council continue to meet and had their fifth formal meeting on 22 November 2022. The following summarises key updates and clarifications that were provided in that meeting.
Parks Victoria has agreed to assess an additional 50 climbing areas in Gariwerd following the release of the Greater Gariwerd Landscape Management Plan. These assessments to be undertaken with Traditional Owners will allow Parks Victoria to determine if these areas can be designated as climbing areas or not. CVAC in consultation with the rock climbing community determined 50 priority areas for these assessments. These areas had to be from the list of previously unassessed sites, and not re-assessing already determined areas.
Parks Victoria accepted the 50 priority areas submitted by CVAC in May 2022, and has agreed to assess them in the 2022/23 financial year. The aim is to complete the assessments and determine which sites will be designated as climbing areas or non-climbing areas by May 2023.
Parks Victoria and CVAC are working together to prepare Taipan Wall for reopening. The climbing area has been assessed and found to have cultural values. However, through discussions with Traditional Owners, who worked with the Gariwerd Wimmera Reconciliation Network, alternate access points and other mitigation measures were identified and agreed as suitable for allowing access to the northern section of the wall. Parks Victoria has completed on-ground work required to protect cultural values including walking track realignments and in early December Crag Volunteers (CVAC member) completed a volunteering activity to remove fixed protection and climbing infrastructure that can no longer be accessed. CVAC has also provided support by reviewing public information that will help climbers understand the access and route changes. The reopening of the left half of Taipan Wall is imminent and more detailed information about how and where you can climb at Taipan Wall will be provided when it is reopened.
Traditional Owners have supported a nuanced approach to protecting cultural heritage values at Taipan Wall. This will allow climbing to occur within close proximity of culturally sensitive locations. Climbing in these areas is a privilege, not a right and when the area is reopened it is requested that climbers treat the exclusion areas with the utmost respect and do not enter them. This will ensure that the climbing areas at Taipan Wall that are about to be reopened remain so.
Parks Victoria is continuing to develop a rock climbing permit for Gariwerd, as per the Management Plan direction. This permit will be a free online permit that climbers will have to renew every two years. The key purpose of the permit is to:
- provide education to all that climb about the changed conditions for climbing in Gariwerd
- enable compliance where people do the wrong thing
- provide the ability to effectively communicate with climbers if conditions change.
Parks Victoria hopes to commence user testing in coming months and will involve climbing representatives including members of CVAC in the testing. The aim is to have the permit system finalised and rolled out during 2023.
CVAC has also noted its interest in the ongoing process at Dyurrite and will keep the wider climbing community informed of any updates.
Finally Parks Victoria and CVAC want to re-iterate the importance of checking how and where you can climb in Gariwerd before you go, and that climbing is only permitted in designated areas. Climbing only in the approved designated areas and adhering to any access restrictions is important to the continuing support for climbing in Gariwerd including assessing further areas. You can find more information at www.parks.vic.gov.au/places-to-see/parks/grampians-national-park/rock-climbing-in-gariwerd.
For further queries please contact the organisation that you’re connected to that sits on the Climbing Victoria Advisory Council.
Update on proposed new regulations for 52 Metropolitan and Regional Parks in Victoria:
On 8 December, members of the Climbing Victoria Advisory Council, Bushwalking Victoria and Outdoors Victoria met with representatives from DELWP and Parks Victoria to discuss the proposed new regulations for Metropolitan and Regional Parks in Victoria. One of those key to climbers is Mount Macedon. We were able to restate our concerns with the proposed regulations as they currently stand. With all the feedback received during the public consultation phase there is potential some changes may be made after the department briefs the new Minister for Environment, Minister Stitt, and this will be revealed sometime in the first quarter of 2023. We will continue to keep the outdoors sector updated over the coming months.
Further background on Climbing Victoria Advisory Council
Representatives from eight climbing organisations have been working together to address the need for a peak body that represents the diverse voices of the Victorian outdoor climbing community. With a working title of Climbing Victoria Advisory Council (CVAC), this group originated as an offshoot from the Founding Council that was originally formed to interact with Parks Victoria’s climbing round table, and to work on a future governance framework for the climbing community in Victoria. The need for CVAC to work towards a Peak Climbing Body has continued to be driven by the need for Parks Victoria and Traditional Owners to work with a single climbing body that is representative of the broad outdoor climbing community in Victoria in the development and execution of the Greater Gariwerd Landscape Management Plan (GGLMP), but we expect it to have benefits for the climbing community beyond that.
This group has been doing the groundwork over the past year to establish a framework for effective and meaningful representation of the outdoor community with clearly defined boundaries, objectives and values. There are still some formalities around the Association that we need to complete, but we hope this body will be incorporated with the title of Climbing Victoria.
As a peak body, Climbing Victoria will not take on the work or roles of existing climbing organisations or individuals. Rather, it will be focused on supporting the climbing community and collaboration within it as well as representing its work and points of view to government bodies, Traditional Owners, the public and media where that is of benefit. We hope that this will lead to better policy development outcomes, better relationships and better opportunities for resources.
The organisations that have been contributing to developing the framework for Climbing Victoria are:
- Western Victoria Climbing Club
- Gariwerd Wimmera Reconciliation Network
- Victorian Climbing Club
- RMIT Outdoors Club
- Crag Volunteers
- Outdoors Victoria
- Sport Climbing Victoria
In addition, the group has included an independent climber representative. Other education and training providers and Licenced Tour Operators will also be approached and invited to participate.
Key to the success of this organisation will be the adherence, by all of its members, to the following set of values that supports constructive collaboration and fair and inclusive representation:
- Respectful partnerships – We agree to work in ways that foster trust and respect for one another. We make decisions through clear communication, collaboration, and we always aim to avoid surprises.
- Courage – We speak up about the things that matter to us in ways that are kind and constructive. We support one another in challenging conversations.
- Listening & Learning – We recognise when we don’t know and seek to learn. We value learning together and from one another. We make time to listen and learn before taking action.
- Diversity and Inclusivity – All voices matter and must be heard, respected and considered fairly. We commit to actively represent the diversity of the climbing community.
- Integrity – We are aware that our actions are visible to the community and we do our best to uphold trust and integrity in all that we do.