From the premier’s website:
“Entry to all of Victoria’s national parks and metropolitan parks will be made free of charge to encourage people to get active in the great outdoors, Premier John Brumby announced today.

Opening the international Healthy Parks Healthy People Congress at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Mr Brumby said the health benefits for people getting out and exploring the natural world far outweighed the benefits of collecting entry fees from parks.

“Victoria has one of the best park networks in the world and we want them to be as accessible as possible to all Victorians,” Mr Brumby said.

Buffalo Plateau

“From 1 July 2010 there will be no entry fee to any national park or metropolitan park in Victoria. Parks Victoria estimates that removing entry fees will increase visitor numbers by 25 per cent to 50 per cent at most sites.”

National parks that will be free are Wilsons Promontory, Mount Buffalo, Baw Baw, Mornington Peninsula, Yarra Ranges (Mount Donna Buang) and Point Nepean as well as Werribee Park, Coolart, National Rhododendron Gardens and William Ricketts Sanctuary metropolitan parks.

Surely this is a good thing… it means more people are likely to get out in the parks (and the premier has included a review to see if top up funds are needed to back fill loss of gate revenue). It should be especially useful in the case of Buffalo national park, which has been suffering because of loss or closure of key infrastructure in recent years.

Mr Brumby said encouraging people to get out and about in Victoria’s parks was good for community wellbeing and good for regional economies.

You can find the full release here.