Parks Victoria booking mayhem

Chaos: A data breach has led to pausing the booking system for places such as Wilson's Promontory. Photograph Parks Victoria

PARKS Victoria has apologised for temporarily pausing camping and accommodation bookings for the 2023/24 season, following a data breach that saw private information compromised for a “very small number of users”.

The government agency said they are working with their booking system supplier to ensure it can fix the issues, and will reach those affected by the data breach.

The booking system was unable to cope with the extremely high level of demand when opening bookings for the Tidal River campground.

A small number of users were able to see other people’s booking details in the ‘cart’ section when making a booking.

“Following a thorough investigation made by the booking system supplier, we are aware that a very small number of users were able to see other people’s booking details – there has been no evidence that sensitive information such as credit card details and driver’s licence numbers were shared,” Parks Victoria wrote on their website.

“Due to these issues, we are currently unable to take bookings for all unpowered sites over the phone or online.

“We apologise for the inconvenience and ask you to be patient as we work with our supplier on a solution for the future to enable the release of bookings as soon as possible.

“Parks Victoria will not be charging for camping at unpowered sites and bookings are not required while the system is down.

Campsites will operate on a ‘first in, best dressed’ basis and will be subject to availability, excluding Longridge Campground which is currently closed for new bookings.

Powered sites at Wilson’s Promontory and Buchan Caves Reserve, as well as tours, will continue to require bookings pending availability up to end-August 2023.

For any other issues, you can call the Customer Service team on 13 1963.

As part of the upgraded online booking system, which launched on July 4, Parks Victoria has removed ballots from the last remaining balloted campground in the state – Tidal River Campground at Wilsons Promontory National Park. This meant that campers could book every bookable campground across Victoria instantly, with no need to wait to hear if a ballot application was successful or not.

Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Public Land Use and Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath criticised the botched launch of the online system.

“The leaking of campers’ personal details and potentially financial information is totally unacceptable,” she said.

“The Andrews government must confirm exactly what data breaches have occurred, contact affected citizens and publicly apologise.

“It is hugely disappointing that Victorian, interstate, and international tourists are being denied the ability to book a camp site at our jewel in the south, Wilson’s Prom at this time.

“July is traditionally the time when many locals are trying to secure a booking for their summer holiday to coordinate with their annual leave.”