L to R: Stephen Bennett MP, Rocky Point Retreat owner Darren Rasmussen and Des Quinn, Winfield Resident at Baffle Creek.
L to R: Stephen Bennett MP, Rocky Point Retreat owner Darren Rasmussen and Des Quinn, Winfield Resident at Baffle Creek.

What Baffle Creek? Yesterday’s government response

The Palaszczuk government has been accused of "dragging the chain" on approvals, leaving the Baffle Creek community in limbo.

A decision on a revised green zone in the Great Sandy Marine Park has been delayed for 16 months residents claim.

A Queensland government timeline on the review of zoning plan shows it commenced on September 1, 2017, and was in stage three of four stages.

Rocky Point Retreat owner Darren Rasmussen says he is tired of waiting.

"Since the start, all the milestone timelines that were given by the department and the Minister for the delivery of the review have not been met and we can't even get an estimate for the draft release date," he said.

"Waiting and anticipating whether we will have a viable business if zoning changes and fishing closures are made in Baffle Creek has been very challenging for our business to say the least.

"The uncertainty has resulted in us shelving all plans to expand our camp ground while we wait for the review to be completed."

Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett said locals had concerns this secretive plan could result in major changes to the way people used Baffle Creek.

"Last year, residents of the Baffle Creek community made it very clear that a green zone was not welcome after almost 4000 people signed a petition," he said.

The Baffle Creek community have been ignored by the government.

"We were told they would be able to have their say but sadly, the Palaszczuk Government has broken yet another promise," he said.

"I'm calling on the State Government to get their act together and release the Great Sandy Marine Park draft revised zoning plan immediately."

Environment Minister Leanne Enoch said commercial, recreational and cultural interests including the voices of Traditional Owners was incredibly important in the decision.

"There has been an incredible amount of consultation with Baffle Creek residents and QPWS officers spoke directly with residents around Baffle Creek at caravan parks, the local hardware store and even at the Baffle Creek pub," she said.

"More than 3,000 submissions have been received and The Department of Environment and Science together with the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services (QPWS) have been tasked with reading through these to ensure we develop a plan that will suit all interests for the next ten years.

"Last year's unprecedented and brutal fire season combined with this year being dominated by COVID-19, have influenced the consultation process.

"We want to ensure that traditional owners are able to contribute fully, and with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions this can progress.

"This is a plan for the next ten years, which is why a great deal of work needs to be done right now to make sure we get it right."