Dingo issue fires up debate

Concerns have been raised over the plight of Fraser Island dingoes.
Concerns have been raised over the plight of Fraser Island dingoes. CONTRIBUTED

D-MINUS – that is the mark the Shadow Minister for Sustainability Glen Elmes has given the government bureaucrats for trying to preserve Fraser Island’s natural values and its dingoes.

And Mr Elmes said the sorry plight of the native dogs had been reported to UNESCO which formally declares World Heritage areas like Fraser.

This fail rating was given to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DERM) in State Parliament yesterday, with the Member for Noosa accusing “this discredited” department of sanitising and covering up its neglect.

“We have finally seen the introduction of tag-along tours, yet this proposal was first put to government around 10 years ago,” Mr Elmes said in his Fraser Island report.

“How many accidents and deaths could have been avoided?”

Mr Elmes said the island’s water quality continued to be degraded due to human activity from around 380,000 visitors a year.

But Mr Elmes was most critical of the plight of the dingo and accused DERM and the State Government of engaging in a media campaign, complete with happy snaps, to conceal their poor state.

The LNP’s Fraser Island solution includes:

Resting parts of the island on a rotational basis for a couple of months each year

Local stakeholders and indigenous people to engage and educate visitors

Re-instatement of the funding for the Eurong sewerage plant; and

A humane approach to dingo management.

But Mr Elmes does not have support of Fraser Island Association president David Anderson when it comes to his claims of dingo mismanagement or toxic camp sites from too many visitors.

Mr Anderson agreed with the DERM dingo report which shows natural weight fluctuations in dingoes.

Mr Anderson said DERM had already closed down two camping grounds for four months to help relieve human pressures, before re-opening them.

The main issues he said need to be addressed are was road maintenance and the need for an expert study on how to make the sand tracks hold together better, as well as larger fines for people who flaunt the law and bring domestic dogs on to the island.

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