GO HOME: Shocked campers not allowed on Inskip
THE State Government has been called on to immediately ease camping and beach driving restrictions hurting Cooloola Coast businesses.
Member for Gympie, Tony Perrett, said news that visitors to the region had been locked out of camping grounds was another slap in the face for local business.
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"I have been contacted by visitors who have travelled, some up to three hours, to access the region for camping," Mr Perrett said yesterday.
"They followed the Premier's advice to holiday in Queensland only to be met with barrier tape," he said.
"They were told they could not camp there and to head home.
"Rainbow Beach businesses had also been contacting me yesterday asking for clarity about the Premier's message.
"They wanted to know what it meant for the region, and could they see light at the end of the tunnel.
"Sunday's fanfare about lifting restrictions means nothing if camping and beach driving restrictions are not lifted immediately.
"The area is seriously hurting.
"Three weeks ago, I wrote to the Premier and Environment Minister seeking an easing of restrictions and pointing out the damage that is being done to the coast.
""It has fallen on deaf ears.
This was not for wholesale, open slather camping.
"It defies logic that the Government cannot lift restrictions to allow limited camping which can be closely monitored and enforced by QPWS officers.
"Local businesses in Rainbow Beach tell me they are experiencing more than a 90% decline in revenue, with one reporting a 97% decline.
"Those that had to completely close would have received no income at all, a 100% decline.
"These businesses have been proactive and accessed Federal government assistance, however the relaxation of State Government restrictions hadn't given them any relief.
"Rainbow Beach is the gateway to Fraser Island and many businesses are directly linked to the island, which has been shut.
"It is a 100% tourist-based economy which relies totally on the drive tourist market.
Business activity has stopped, and many are severely stressed.
"The continued closure of camping and visits to the Great Sandy National Park and Cooloola Recreation Area reduces any source of income for local businesses.
"They are bearing the brunt of contradictory and chaotic decisions from Brisbane."