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The desperate actions of the Lake Hawea community in blocking off a popular recreation area to freedom campers, is yet another example of the need for immediate Government intervention around the freedom camping issue.

Communities and councils are clearly struggling to cope with this issue and they need some leadership and support from Central Government now.

That includes some consistent Government policy that will ensure freedom campers understand what is expected of them, no matter where they park their vans.

National recently released a new Private Members’ Bill from East Coast MP Anne Tolley which will put into law the freedom camping policy announced by the party at the last election.

This Bill will prohibit freedom camping more than 200 metres from public toilet facilities, provide more organisations with the right to restrict freedom camping, and provide for instant fines that have been issued to be collected by rental car companies.

Passing this bill through parliament would have an immediate positive impact on the behaviour of freedom campers and it would be a great step forward on this issue.

Unfortunately to date all Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis has come up with is the establishment of a freedom camping working party which could take up to 18 months to come up with any recommendations.

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