Fraser Island funding cuts not on
SLASHING red tape to access eco-tourism experiences in World Heritage-listed Fraser Island will not result in less funding to manage the popular destination.
That is the assurance David Anderson, of the Fraser Island Association, was given by National Parks Minister Steve Dickson after his visit to the island.
"At first I was quite fired up because I heard that he (Mr Dickson) intended reducing the number of permits, which is what we rely on for funding for the island," Mr Anderson said.
"He assured me that funding would not be cut, that he just wanted to make it easier for people to visit the island.
"I'm not sure if he was just blowing smoke, but the last thing we need is less funding or an increase in permit fees because it already costs a fair bit to access the island by way of barge fees, vehicle access permits and accommodation on top of that."
The four-wheel-drive barge charges from Hervey Bay are $150 for four people, while from Inskip it is $100 for three people with a $40 access fee.
Member for Hervey Bay Ted Sorensen invited Mr Dickson to see some of the problems faced by local tourism operators and business owners.
"One of my key actions from DestinationQ (tourism summit held in June) was a commitment to cut eco-tourism red tape by reducing the number of permits required to use Queensland's national parks, and enable greater access for everyone who wanted to visit them," Mr Dickson said.
"The Fraser Coast is home to some of the most beautiful World Heritage and marine national park land in the state, but tourism is struggling because of the burdens placed on operators and businesses by the former Labor Government," he said.
Mr Dickson also met with rangers and residents to hear their views on how Fraser Island could be better protected.
Topics for discussion included pest management, camping facilities and the strategic management of conservation needed to ensure Fraser Island's pristine beauty.
"By increasing access to Fraser Island, the Newman Government will kickstart the tourism industry in the area after what has been a very difficult period," Mr Dickson said.