A couple of years ago Victorian Fisheries Authority and Goulburn Broken CMA put together these excellent signs at various locations around the rivers. They gave fishermen knowledge and certainty about where they were, and were not welcome. Last weekend, I only found one remaining. All the rest I saw were just empty frames. The official line is that they are being stolen. I’m pretty sure that’s utter rubbish, and that this is just vandalism by some landholders, wanting to keep knowledge away from visitors, create confusion about access rights, and block rightful access.
Add to this, the coincidental appearance of the ‘biosecurity’ signs on farm fences – often within metres of the missing access signs – and you have a pretty clear pattern of a concerted push back by landholders against rightful access to riverbanks. This is just a smokescreen designed to confuse and obstruct.
Landholders don’t ‘own’ the land. Rivers were there long before fences, and will be there long after. But, in just a few years, I’ve noted the serious deterioration of riverbanks at one of my (former) favourite locations due to cattle trampling and collapsing the banks. Farmers can’t hold up the biosecurity flag with one hand, and destroy the environment with the other. They need to be held accountable for the damage they do to public land.
I think it’s well past time the authorities toughened their stance against this behaviour, and set clear rules about river access (for recreation, and grazing) so that everyone knows where they stand.