Our Right to Boat - Frequently Asked Questions


Q. Apparently you have a conspiracy theory?

Click on above question for detailed reply (96KB file).

Q. Someone told me you guys were fined for boating on the Lake in April 2011

We have never paid a fine for boating. We have never been taken to court for boating.

About 4 months after the Commodore and Vice Commodore spent a delightful 6 days sailing on Lake Eyre North an expiation notice arrived stating a fine of $345 was payable. It was returned with a request that the matter be heard in court. Nothing more was heard until after the 12 months period of statutory limitations had passed. The Ombudsman asked us to make enquiries. We received a letter from the Head of DENR stating that an administrative oversight had occurred and we will not be prosecuted. FOI documents later revealed that the process had continued for another 6 months to Feb 2012 before being dropped, apparently after legal advice.

Q. Did you know that the “Have Your Say” section of the DEWNR site has a discussion paper and draft amendment bill for the NPWL ACT dated December 2012 that downgrades Lake Eyre National Park to a “Nature Reserve”?

Click on above question for detailed reply (14KB file).

Q. What’s wrong with requiring a special permit for boating?

The short answer: A special permit = no permit OR a corruptly sourced one!

A National Park is a public recreation area and boating is a recognised activity within a National Park. A permit system already exists for entry and camping within FNSA National Parks -The Desert Parks Permit. Money raised from this government levy helps maintain the Park.

The South Australian Government is attempting to introduce a further “permit” for entry into a National Park. This so called permit is conditional upon a successfully negotiated agreement with a third party. It is expected that money will change hands - we say corruptly. In effect this National Park has been privatised.

Because we have refused to accept such a corrupt arrangement (despite being offered a deal by which we collect a commission) the third party has decided to refuse all applications - even those not connected with the Yacht Club. What gives them the right? Native Title certainly doesn’t, even their lawyer said so. Not one permit has been issued, even the Head Ranger of the park, who uses boats as part of his normal work duties, has not been allowed to boat “causing a considerable health and safety problem” – his words.

Permits are currently required to enter autonomous indigenous lands. Ask anyone who has tried to get one how difficult it was. They will sight poor administration, lack of information and lengthy delays and last minute changes.

Imposts on our freedom such as this are a major reason why the Lake Eyre Yacht Club was formed. We recognised a future need to defend our recreational activity from ridiculous intervention.

This action is creating a serious precedent. Australians have inherited common law rights that originate in British and Roman law regarding free and uninhibited access to waterways. If you don’t fight for your common law rights you lose them.

Many other clubs who recreate in a public place have indicated their concern at this precedent. Legally Lake Eyre is no different from any other public land or waterway. Native title exists or is planned for most of the country. Following success with Lake Eyre will the Lower Murray Lakes be next? Or the Murray itself? In fact the same precedent could be used in regard to your local Cricket Club’s access to their oval!

Q. I've heard that the Arabunna are not the traditional owners of Lake Eyre

Click on above question for detailed reply (1.1MB file).

Q. Don't the Arabunna have cultural reasons for preventing us from boating

UNFORTUNATELY FOR THE ARABUNNA IT IS A CASE OF DO AS I SAY NOT AS I DO!

We acknowledge indigenous culture has “creation stories” for every significant feature on the continent and many insignificant features as well. This type of rote learning was how indigenous cultures passed knowledge on to the next generation, particularly knowledge of seasonal food sources and hazards – such as getting lost on a featureless salt lake.

In fact most cultures have children's stories designed to implant basic life guidance and which are often based on cautionary historical events. When we talk about setting a precedent it is worth mentioning that almost every watercourse has a snake story and every waterhole or lake has a bunyip story. In fact the River Murray, and in particular, Lake Alexandrina has a mythical monster – Muldjewangk http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muldjewangk . Perhaps Muldjewangk may one day take offence at boating on his lake and have to be rewarded.

Arabunna elders, when asked at a meeting with AARD staff to explain how there is evidence that they have often walked on the surface of Lake Eyre and took paying tourists to the Lake who pursued normal beach activities including swimming - despite their beliefs. Answered, after much private discussion, that they are old and wise and can safely walk on the Lake. (Source FOI document)

We use modern technology and follow boating regulations.