Staggering rescue costs not enough to bring climb ban
THE State Government has no plans to end climbing on Mt Beerwah amid calls from traditional owners for an Uluru-style ban despite rescues costing tax payers about $10,000 per operation.
Sunshine Coast indigenous elders have called for a ban on people climbing their sacred mountains and an end to the desecration of Mt Beerwah by visitors.
It comes after the groundbreaking closure of Uluru to climbers.
Elders also say the mountains are too dangerous to climb, and that rescue operations are too expensive.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Department of Environment and Science as land managers consulted with traditional owners on a regular basis on the best way to protect culturally significant sites such as the Glass House Mountains.
"While traditional owners have raised concerns and suggested the possibility of closing the mountains to climbers, the department has no plans to do so."
The calls have been received with mixed reviews from the Sunshine Coast public, the majority however, being that the mountains should remain open.
Of those who were opposed to climbing, many listed the cost of rescues as reasons to go with the cultural ones.
Kabi Kabi elder Les Muckan told the Sunshine Coast Daily on Monday he could see both sides of the argument.
"Looking at the bigger picture, I think it's more a matter about safety," Mr Muckan said.
"How many people need rescuing each year?"
RACQ LifeFlight Rescue service would not weigh in to the debate, but instead provided figures of the number of rescues since the start of the year.
The Sunshine Coast-based helicopter has performed five winches from mountains in the Sunshine Coast or Noosa regions.
Each mission is valued at more than $12,500.
On May 4, 2019, 14 SES volunteers and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services officers were required to rescue an uninjured man who "became stuck" halfway up Mt Beerwah.
On July 2, 2019, a man was hospitalised after sliding 50m after a fall.
On August 25, emergency services used an assistance line to access a trio on Mt Beerwah who became physically unable to finish the climb.
Local MP Andrew Powell said he understood the dangers of Mt Beerwah but argued more money would be lost in the tourism sector if climbing was banned.
Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said she welcomed a discussion about whether or not to close the Glass House Mountains to climbers in order to respect traditional owners.
Ms Trad said it was "too premature" to be talking about timelines and outcomes to any potential closure.
"It's important that we have the conversation before leaping to actual outcomes," she said.