Whale fight gets a boost with council climbing aboard
THE council is set to fight the State Government on behalf of Fraser Coast tourism providers who say they will lose business due to changes allowing whale watching in State waters off the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.
More than 20 people met at the council chambers in Hervey Bay yesterday, including whale watching operators, resort, caravan park and backpacker accommodation providers, tourism industry representatives, Mayor Gerard O'Connell and two councillors.
The group decided the council would lobby the government to reverse the decision.
They say it creates an unlevel playing field with local operators having to pay thousands of dollars to watch the whales, while those on the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast will not have to pay a cent. If this proves unsuccessful, the council will ask for compensation for local operators for the permits they need, or the cutting of red tape to streamline up to four permits they use into one.
Jeff Huston, of Colonial Village YHA, said if whale watching tourists went elsewhere, the whole economy would suffer. Councillor Stuart Taylor believed it was still open to the State Government to reverse its decision.
Whale watching changes
- Operators on Gold and Sunshine Coasts now able to use state waters, with no fees or charges from the State Government
- Hervey Bay operators have to pay thousands to use Sandy Strait Marine Park