Cheryl Bryant from Save the Fraser Island Dingoes.
Cheryl Bryant from Save the Fraser Island Dingoes.

Dingo advocate calls out ‘double standard’ over shark attack

A PROMINENT Fraser Island dingo advocate has called out what she sees as a "double standard" over the State Government's response to a fatal shark attack off Indian Head.

Cheryl Bryant from Save the Fraser Island Dingoes said while government departments responded to every dingo attack on the island, they had said little about the attack that killed Matthew Tratt on Saturday.

"Every time there's an incident with a dingo, the government's there straight away deciding what they're going to do but when there's an incident with another animal, we don't hear very much at all," Ms Bryant said.

"A dingo goes and sniffs bait and they get coded. Everybody hears about it but they don't do that with the other species."

Shark attack victim Matthew Tratt and wife Kayla.
Shark attack victim Matthew Tratt and wife Kayla.

Ms Bryant said Mr Tratt's death was an unthinkable tragedy and more should be done to raise awareness of the dangers visitors faced on the island.

She said dingoes should not be flagged as a greater risk than sharks, powerful tides or dangerous roads.

"Perhaps they should start putting out warnings. That area is shark infested and perhaps the government should start raising awareness," she said.

"It seems to be all focused on the dingoes. I know they're the apex predator on the island but there's plenty of other dangers."

Ms Bryant said the perception that Fraser Island was simply a family-friendly, safe holiday destination needed to change.

"People tend to forget it's a wilderness area. People need to be prepared," she said.

"They should push the wildness of it as an attraction but make sure people are aware of the dangers."

The body of shark victim Matthew Tratt is flown from Indian Head on Fraser Island.
The body of shark victim Matthew Tratt is flown from Indian Head on Fraser Island.

A spokesman for the Department of Environment and Science did not respond directly to Ms Bryant's "double standard" suggestion.

He pointed the Chronicle to a section on the DES website carrying this warning:

"People have suffered serious injuries in water-related accidents. There are no patrolled swimming areas on Fraser Island. Avoid tragedy.

"Always stay with children when near water.

"Do not swim in the ocean as it is not patrolled and there may be rips and sharks."

Queensland Police are preparing a Coroner's report about Mr Tratt's death.

The Chronicle asked whether signage and awareness would be considered in the report and a QPS spokeswoman said the report would only focus on Mr Tratt's death.

"The Coroner will ultimately decide whether there are additional factors or issues which need to be examined as a result of that," she said.



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