Families will have to pay to stay at more than 100 of Victoria’s national park campgrounds in Australia for the first time, under a new government plan.

The Herald Sun, Melbourne, reported that the cost of camping at premium sites where fees already apply will be hiked from an average $37 a night to about $59 a night.

The government is proposing the user-pays model – likely to be phased in from March – which it says as fairer for taxpayers and more sustainable.

The first stage would see 11 of Victoria’s free park campgrounds introduce fees of about $19 a night on average, while 24 parks that already have fees would see increases.

The other 98 parks or reserves in Victoria would have camping fees by 2015 under the plan, which is expected to raise at least $13.5 million a year.

Environment Minister Ryan Smith said Labor mismanagement had left a $178 million Budget blackhole at Parks Victoria that had to be filled.

“We found that out of 133 camping grounds, only 24 campsites charged a fee for the use of the facilities,” Mr Smith said.

“The cost of providing and maintaining these facilities (is) outstripping the revenue generated by more than $10 million each and every year.”

The Government will release the plan for public feedback today.

Large group lodges that hold dozens of people, like those at Wilsons Promontory, would also be hit with increases of up to $90 a night.

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