Govt whale-watching changes benefit Sunshine and Gold Coasts
THE Newman Government has committed an extra $200,000 for the development and promotion of Hervey Bay's whale-watching industry after making changes to the benefit of Sunshine and Gold Coast operators.
Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection Andrew Powell said the changes re-enforced the government's commitment to slashing red tape and simplifying regulations by lifting the ban on commercial whale watching in state waters off the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast.
"This is a common sense move which ends the absurdity of commercial operators having to travel out to Commonwealth waters before they can stop and look at whales," he said.
"Instead of having to ignore any whales they encounter on the way, these operators will now be able to pause and let their customers enjoy the experience as they head out to their main whale watching destinations in Commonwealth waters.
"While Hervey Bay will remain as Queensland's premier whale watching destination, this new legislation will improve the experience for whale watching enthusiasts on the Sunshine and Gold Coasts."
"The Newman government has also committed an additional $200,000 for the development and promotion of the Hervey Bay whale watch industry," he said.
Boat skippers will continue to operate under standard approach limits, with boats allowed within 100m of whales and 300m if there are four or more vessels.
Jetskis and watercraft will also be limited to 300m.
"This legislation brings standard approach limits in line with national guidelines," he said.
Full details of the approach limits and the other changes to the legislation affecting marine mammals can be viewed on the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection website at ehp.qld.gov.au.