Grampians Access Working Group (GAWG)


The VCC (Victoria Climbing Club) is recognised as the peak body of climbing in Victoria and has a long history of working with land managers. In 1998, the club employed Australia’s first professional Access and Environment Officer and created CliffCare.  The Access officer deals directly with advocacy, education, and environmental projects – the latter being an integral part of maintaining access.

The creation of the Grampians Access Working Group (GAWG) was initiated by CliffCare to focus specifically on the SPA’s (Special Protection areas) and closures in the Grampians. In order to quickly respond the bans, VCC/CliffCare selected volunteer members of the climbing community by identifying people with critical skills needed to respond to the bans. The team is made up of media specialists, lawyers, cultural heritage experts, long term climbers, guides, technology specialists, education specialists and administrative support.  Given the complexity of the situation we face, we anticipate that this diverse set of skills will allow GAWG to effectively promote the interests of climbing to other stakeholder groups and land managers. We are currently undertaking negotiations arising from the current access issues and developing a strategy to promote a sustainable future for climbing in Victoria. GAWG’s association with the VCC and CliffCare enables direct engagement with land managers and government processes not otherwise afforded to individuals.


Paula Toal
VCC President. Passionate about climbing, for being close to nature and exploring places that people who don’t climb will never have the privilege to experience. Having a holiday home in Halls Gap, the Grampians is a special place for her. Senior tourism industry professional. 30 years of international experience in strategy, innovation, tourism, partnerships, stakeholder relationship management, capability & capacity development, financial and facilities management and project management and systems implementation across tourism and events, manufacturing and consulting industries in both private and public sector organisations.

Adam Demmert
25+ years climber and developer. Works as an Instructor, Trainer and Assessor for the Australian Climbing Instructors Association (ACIA).
Instructor and guide for Licensed Tour Operators in the Grampians and Mt Arapiles
Member of the Arapiles Rescue Group

Simon Weill
Climbing for 29 years. Climbing and bouldering in the Grampians has been the center point of my adult life. We have built a home in the Grampians area so my son will have the same opportunities to enjoy this amazing place, as I have.

Steve Monks
30 years of exploring and climbing in the Grampians. Professional mountain guide (IFMGA) and Instructor/assessor for ACIA. Member of Arapiles advisory group and rescue group. Long-time involvement with access issues in the Grampians and Arapiles.

Ross Taylor
Writer, editor and co-founder of Vertical Life magazine. Grew up in the Grampians and has been climbing in the area for more than 30 years.

Adam Merrick
Local climber lives in Grampians. Ecologist for Trust for Nature.
Worked for Grampians PV for many years as Education Officer.
On advisory boards of GHCMA and Ararat Rural City.
Represents the Western Victoria Climbing Club

Florence Seow
Background in law, tertiary experiential education and indigenous rights research.  Lectures in the public interest law space, and researches Indigenous rights in international human rights law.

Mark Gould
Climber for 25 years, guide, member of CFA high angle rescue team. Mark is providing technology support to the team.

Nate Perry
Reconcilliation Advisor
Nate has a number of years of experience in the area of reconciliation. He has worked for government and non-government organisations in Australia, Latin America and the United States building relationships with indigenous peoples. He has a background in community development and anthropology and is an experienced climber based in Bendigo.

Adrian Hoel