Calls to clamp down on illegal campers
WHEEL clamping and extra powers for council rangers should be part of enforcement tools available in dealing with illegal camping according to Labor candidate for Ballina, Asren Pugh.
"Councils are spending significant ratepayers resources on policing illegal camping and they should be able to enforce the rules," Mr Pugh said.
"Wheel clamping is allowed in Victoria and it is just another tool that should be able to be used by rangers.
"Rangers have reported that it is hard to police the rule as some international tourists aren't worried about fines as they simply leave without paying.
"It is also hard to reasonably move campers on if they have been drinking as they are not allowed to drive.
"Policing this issue is up to local councils, but I want to make sure they have all the powers they need to ensure that they can enforce the rules. I have spoken with the Shadow Minister for Local Government and advocated strongly for a new Labor Government to give council rangers the power to clamp the wheels of illegal campers and illegal vanpackers."
"If they don't pay the fine, they don't get to drive their camper van. It should be as simple as that."
Mr Pugh said that each year the problem of illegal camping was getting worse across the Ballina and Byron Shires.
"Residents are reporting that tourists are increasingly trying to avoid the paid caravan parks and campgrounds and instead parking, sleeping, cooking and showering in residential streets," he said.
"Residents near Byron Bay's Butler Street Reserve are reporting finding faeces and rubbish in their yard and having to clean it away every night, loud music being played late into the night and disrespectful and sometimes aggressive behavior.
"Local residents have the right to the peaceful enjoyment of their homes. They should not have to deal with human waste and rude tourists who are trying to avoid paying for a camping spot. Tourists are an essential part of the economy up here and they are welcome. They just have to play by the rules."
"I will continue to campaign on the issue and meet with local residents to consider what else a new Labor Government might be able to do to help combat the problem of illegal camping. I encourage people to get in touch and let me know what their experiences are, and possible solutions."