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Southern 80 visitors urged to stay safe and act responsibly

Monday 5 February, 2018

With thousands of visitors expected to converge on the banks of the Murray River this weekend for the annual Southern 80 Ski Race, authorities are asking visitors to plan ahead and enjoy their trip.

Parks Victoria, Victoria Police, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), and other agencies will work together throughout the event to ensure a coordinated response to any emergency or issues that occur along the river.

Very High Fire Danger Ratings are expected this weekend and agencies are reminding campers along the Murray River to respect the conditions and the park they are visiting.

“Hot temperatures are forecast this weekend with a top of 36 degrees on Saturday,” said Parks Victoria District Manager, Daniel McLaughlin. “We are urging people to be careful, as the hot and dry conditions around Echuca will further increase the risk of fires spreading if ignited.”

“During hot weather we encourage campers to use alternatives to campfires such as gas cookers and solar lights.”

“In addition, we know from past Southern 80 Race events that a huge amount of rubbish will be created. Dumping rubbish in our parks is not just unsightly and illegal but also potentially dangerous for visitors, and impacts on native plants and animals,” Mr McLaughlin said.

“We remind everyone to think about what they will do with their rubbish at the end of the weekend, either take it home or dispose of it at a nearby transfer station.”

“We’ll be checking people are doing the right thing when it comes to building, lighting and extinguishing their campfires,” said Mr McLaughlin. “It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure they follow the campfire safety rules.”

“Please be aware that for safety some areas have restricted vehicle access.  Pedestrian-only access will be possible from Wharparilla Drive and beyond Campaspe Esplanade for the weekend.  We ask that visitors respect these temporary changes,” said Mr McLaughlin.

“Come and visit Parks Victoria rangers at the Victoria Park finish line precinct over the course of the weekend. We will be available to discuss campfire safety, information on rubbish disposal and updates on local access and road closures.”

Parks Victoria and Victoria Police will conduct joint patrols of campsites along the Murray River between Echuca and Torrumbarry this weekend, to check on fire safety and curb any anti-social behaviour.

“A zero tolerance approach will be taken to campfires that don’t comply with regulations and we will prosecute offenders,” said Inspector Geoff Owen, Campaspe Police Service Area.

“Anti-social behaviour is never acceptable and this weekend we’ll be visiting those areas with lots of campers to make sure everyone can enjoy a safe time at the Southern 80.”

Warnings and advice about current fires is available from:

  • VicEmergency and CFA Facebook and Twitter
  • ABC Local Radio, commercial and designated community radio stations or Sky News TV
  • Vic Emergency Line on free call 1800 226 226
  • Vic Emergency App

Information on park closures and changes to access is available at Parks Victoria’s website.

Media enquiries
Gareth Rees
0417 067 706

Parks Victoria media centre