Doug Waters from Burrum Heads next to a hole he dug to fix the road beside his property. It filled up during the floods and now rural firefighters use it to fill their trucks.
Doug Waters from Burrum Heads next to a hole he dug to fix the road beside his property. It filled up during the floods and now rural firefighters use it to fill their trucks. Alistair Brightman

Burrum Heads good Samaritan to meet two State Govt Ministers

UPDATE: Good Samaritan Doug Waters will meet with Environment Minister Andrew Powell and National Parks Minister Steve Dixon in Brisbane on Friday to discuss Mr Waters convictions.

Mr Waters faced the Hervey Bay Magistrates Court on July 8, was convicted of damaging the Burrum Coast National Park and fined $7500.

He may also need to pay $15,000 in remuneration to the state government for digging a hole to repair park roads three years ago.

After the Chronicle reported on the situation, Federal Member for Hinkler Paul Neville said the way Mr Waters was treated by the State Government was appalling and called for the laws to be changed.

EARLIER: A good Samaritan fined for rescuing stranded motorists from the Burrum Coast National Park has a second fight on his hands - but rural firefighters are on his side.

Doug Waters was fined $7500 last week for damaging national parks while helping the drivers.

Three years ago Mr Waters dug a hole and used the fill to improve roads in the park.

If the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection and the Fraser Coast Regional Council decide to fill in the hole, Mr Waters will need to pay them $15,000 by court order.

But Burrum Heads Rural Fire Service first officer Brian Simmonds said the waterhole was vital in fighting fires and shouldn't be closed.

Mr Simmonds said the RFS had two vehicles able to fight in the national park with 600-litre and 1800-litre water tanks.

"If we needed an urban (fire unit) to come out, the closest one is Childers with enough water to suit that application out there," he said.

"If there's a fire in the park you can't get in there with conventional vehicles; it's got to be a four-wheel drive."

Mr Simmonds said the water hole was of vital importance to the property owners in the park.

"If they don't have a dam on their property, well, goodbye," he said.

Federal member for Hinkler Paul Neville slammed the State Government for fining Mr Waters.

"They're hiding behind ... the current legislation," Mr Neville said.

"The answer to that is change the bloody legislation - it can't be that difficult."



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