The Palaszczuk Government has announced it will invest $2 million to build new fencing around Orchid Beach on K’gari (Fraser Island), reducing interactions between the island’s dingo population and visitors.
Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon said close to seven kilometres of fencing would be installed around the township after concerns were raised on behalf of the community by Hervey Bay MP Adrian Tantari about recent interactions between visitors and the island’s native fauna.
“K’gari is world-famous for its beaches, flora, fauna and longstanding Aboriginal culture and connection – it’s the reason why thousands of Queenslanders flock to the island each year, who in turn support the local economy and environment,” Ms Scanlon said.
“It’s why we invest $10 million each year to manage K’gari’s national parks together with Traditional Owners, and why we’re investing another $4.8 million for new cultural tourism opportunities on the world-heritage listed island.
“While families heading to the island have remained vigilant when travelling near dingo habitat, there have sadly been a number of incidents where people have been injured.
“Fencing will protect visitors, Orchid Beach locals and K’gari’s native dingo population, who our rangers believe no longer show apprehension when approaching humans because they’ve either been deliberately fed or eaten food scraps.”
Ms Scanlon said the department would engage immediately with the community and the Butchulla People’s representatives on the design and alignment of the fence, including the vehicle entry grids and pedestrian gates, with a tender process for construction to follow.
The new fence will add to fencing already installed around 24 campgrounds throughout K’gari, as well as the townships of Eurong, Happy Valley and Kingfisher Bay Resort.
Mr Tantari welcomed the announcement and said K’gari was a key economic generator for the region, sparking $2.6 billion in economic activity each year together with the state’s other national parks.
“We want families to continue to visit K’gari, because it means jobs for our community, our retailers, cafes and businesses,” Mr Tantari said.
“Promoting and protecting our national parks is a key component of our region and state’s economic recovery plan from COVID-19.
“The fencing will make sure visitors can be as safe as possible when visiting the island, but also that our native fauna populations are protected from human interaction.
“It will also act as an important reminder for people be mindful that they’re visiting an area native to dingoes, and to be dingo-safe every time they visit.”
Ms Scanlon said the fencing adds to increased penalties for intentionally feeding or disturbing dingoes, with on-the-spot fines of between $2,135 per offence to a maximum of $10,676.
“The Butchulla people have managed K’gari as its traditional owners for thousands of years, and we’ll work with them to get this right,” Ms Scanlon said.