The public is being left in the dark on when they will have their say on the management plans
for the Great Sandy National Park.
Four years after being told a new plan was being drafted there is still nothing.
The Minister won’t provide a timeline or advise when it will be released for public
The only advice is that it may be released sometime in the next year.
The plan is pivotal in determining activities in local Cooloola Coast economies which are
based around adventure-based tourism and eco-tourism.
Residents are waiting to have their say on any future arrangements for the area.
In May 2018, I was first advised by the Minister that drafting had commenced for a new
management plan for the area, including the Cooloola Recreation Area.
Despite numerous questions and correspondence to subsequent Ministers consultation with
locals is still being delayed.
We are being fobbed off.
I have the same answer, or variations on that answer in October 2019; July 2020; in March
last year and now again.
And they are never able to provide a timeline.
How long does it take to draft a management plan for an area that previously had a
Local residents want to know what is going on and when can they see what the government
They keep raising with me concerns about moves to reduce camping numbers and vehicle
access permits in the Cooloola Recreation Area, Great Sandy National Park.
The Great Sandy National Park is more than 2,000 square kilometres and local economies
such as Rainbow Beach rely totally on adventure-based and eco-tourism activities.
It has overwhelming support in our region with 74.5% of responses from my recent
Community Survey supported low impact eco-tourism activities within National Parks.
People are concerned that following the Covid-19 restrictions the Government’s reluctance to
open up the area to increased camping and beach driving was a backdoor attempt to impose
further limits on the region.
This follows moves from outside the region to impose caps.
In 2019 a self-appointed and created Teewah and Cooloola Working Group made
submissions and met with the Minister.
They were trying to fix a Noosa problem by capping camping at the Cooloola Coast.
Cooloola Coast residents weren’t asked for their views even though the coast would bear the
brunt of any changes.
When I took it to the Minister, she advised me that no commitments were made and there
were no plans to reduce numbers.
Reducing camping and tourist numbers would be financially disastrous for the region.
The Covid-19 experience has made it abundantly clear the region’s financial viability hinges
on family friendly camping, adventure-based and eco-tourism, beach driving, and day
trippers accessing local businesses.
It is trying to get back on its feet after the government made a mess of restrictions which
created a bureaucratic nightmare of chaotic, contradictory, and impractical decisions.