First Wave of Free Boat Ramps Launched

The first wave of free Victorian boat ramps have been announced and more are expected to be on the way as we approach the spring deadline.

VRFish joined Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Fishing and Boating Jaala Pulford at the Warmies boat ramp for the announcement that six Local Governments (Hobson Bay, Bass Coast, Strathbogie, Corinella, Glenelg and Surf Coast) have signed agreements with the State Government to make their boat ramps free – effective immediately.

The following boat ramps are now free from fees:

  • Altona and Warmies (Hobsons Bay)
  • Rhyll, Newhaven, Inverloch and Cowes (Bass Coast)
  • Portland (Glenelg)
  • Corinella
  • Lake Nagambie (Strathbogie)
  • Torquay Fishermans Beach (Surf Coast)
  • Lake Eildon (Alliance boat ramp)
  • Tooradin

Further announcements are expected in the coming weeks as all Victorian public boat ramps are planned to be free by spring. Across Victoria, 35 boat ramps have some sort of parking or launching fees attached to them and are overseen by 22 different land manager organisations.

Boaters and fishers have been fed up with the recreational boating system in Victoria for many years and this announcement brings an opportunity to hit the reset button on this broken and battered system. Our boating system has failed thousands of recreational fishers due to ridiculous wait times to launch and retrieve, unsafe ramps covered in sand and slippery algae, limited facilities, safety concerns and the high cost of launching and parking fees.

The re-elected State Government made a commitment through Target One Million (Phase 2) to abolish all boat ramp parking and launching fees at Victorian public boat ramps. This commitment in their Election campaign has been a winner in the eyes of Victorian boaters who have been patiently waiting for an announcement to say their favourite ramp is free from fees.

Recreational boating is worth $4.5-billion dollars to the Victorian economy with 900,000 boating participants in Victoria each year. Yet our boating infrastructure is in need of urgent reforms. In addition to abolishing ramp fees, the State Government committed to ensuring every cent of boat licensing and registration fees are spent on improving the boating industry (infrastructure, safety and facilities) as well as establishing a dedicated boating infrastructure authority.

Better Boating Victoria (BBV) was established in March this year to implement the new Government policies which will deliver improvements to quality of our boating infrastructure. BBV has been working to strike an agreement with each and every one of those 22 organisations. They have also been tasked with delivering upgrades and maintenance at Mordialloc, Queenscliff, Point Richards, Hastings, Rhyll and Cowes Jetty. 

VRFish will be working closely with Government on the development and implementation of these reforms to ensure they will deliver the upgrades and service levels you need to launch and retrieve your vessel easily and safely. It is critical that this work is done properly with a long-term view in mind. There is no reason why Victoria shouldn’t have some of the best boat ramps in Australia in the future. To get there, effective consultation with boat users and fishers on our needs is required along with with some patience. There has been decades of neglect of our current infrastructure and lack of statewide planning for new facilities so our headaches will not be resolved overnight.

A key element of the reforms is unlocking funds that should be directed to maintaining and building boating infrastructure. Government has made a commitment that every cent of $28-30 million of our boating rego and license fees we contribute each year can be re-invested back into maintaining, upgrading and building new boating infrastructure. Legislation will be introduced later this year to create a Better Boating Fund.

To stay up-to-date on the latest list of free boat ramps visit the Better Boating Victoria website.

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