Fossicking has joined camping as another activity that needs to stop to support social distancing during the COVID-19 emergency.
Natural Resources and Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham today urged council and private camping ground operators to restrict recreational camping on state land, as a shutdown began in the state’s central Queensland fossicking areas.
“The Queensland Government has closed all campgrounds in national parks, state forests and state-managed recreation and protected areas in response to the COVID-19 outbreak,” Dr Lynham said.
“The expert medical advice the government is receiving is that camping is a significant concern in the current environment and should not continue.
“Fossicking similarly draws people together, usually away from home, at a time when all efforts are being made to encourage social distancing.
“Fossicking can still occur on private land with the permission of the landholder, keeping in mind the requirement for appropriate social distancing measures.
“It’s critical that these activities cease, particularly with the Easter school break approaching.”
Queensland has campgrounds on state land that are run by local governments and various lessees.
They stretch from the tip of the Cape in the north, Birdsville in the west to the border in the south.
Fossicking areas include the historic gold rush area of Clermont, the western Queensland opal fields, and the central Queensland gemfields.
Dr Lynham urged organisations operating campgrounds, local governments and landholders in fossicking areas to institute the controls.
The restrictions will apply to short term recreational camping, including holiday makers, travellers and grey nomads.
Dr Lynham assured long term and permanent tenants residing in caravan parks that they were not affected.
Meanwhile, all Sunwater and Seqwater recreation areas, lakes and weirs will be closed to public from Tuesday, March 31.
This includes day trips, camping, land and water-based activities and the use of facilities such as toilets, play equipment and BBQ areas.
It comes as Seqwater rangers and staff were left “astounded” by the number of people still trying to access gated and locked recreation areas.
Dr Lynham said Seqwater would be working with Queensland Police Service to carry out patrols at its recreation areas to enforce the closure directive.
“Queensland police now have the option to issue on the spot fines for breaches of Chief Health Officer’s directions to support community efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” Dr Lynham said.
Recreation areas at Seqwater-managed lakes and parks, including Lake Somerset and Lake Samsonvale were closed on Thursday, March 26 after consultation with the State Government to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
This includes all land and water-based recreation such as boating, trail walking and fishing.