Oceanfront dunes of the Cooloola Recreation Area, the wilderness engine room of the coastal economy.
Oceanfront dunes of the Cooloola Recreation Area, the wilderness engine room of the coastal economy.

Cooloola forgotten again in lockdown mess

NO-ONE should regard tourism as a nonpolluting industry.

 

The tremendous impact on the environment from visitors, their vehicles and government authorities is a form of pollution.

But when it comes to the Cooloola Coast, tourism is all that has saved it from destruction.

Even as locked down locals experience empty beaches and camping areas and remember the quiet times which drew them to the area in the first place, they may also contemplate the alternative - sand mining, canal estate development and lots and lots of tarmac.

During this very destructive era of human domination of everything, only a conservation-based spirit of self-restraint can save the day, for residents and businesses, as well as the environment.

The engine room of the Cooloola Coast economy is its wilderness, from which emerge crabs, fish and the Tin Can Bay dolphins.

But, in terms of hard cash, nothing preserves that as efficiently as a healthy nature-based tourism economy.

It might be good if we did not turn the beaches north and south of Double Island Point into a car park, which is what happens at peak times.

It would be nice if some genuine balance could be achieved without the authoritarian tendencies of government agencies, like the ones who locked up Cooloola national parks from Noosa to Fraser Island.

They did this to a 90 per cent tourism driven local economy at a time when the government was urging people to holiday locally.

But, as too often happens, in the absence of strong ministers, the departments seem to go their own way and forget that they are not supposed to be the law makers, selectively applying some policies and ignoring others.

It is a form of government administration which we may liken to chooks with their heads cut up.

When thousands of people can attend a sporting event in Brisbane this weekend, we have to ask why the same standard does not apply to campers in areas set up for the same kind of numbers

When the government urges people to visit national parks, we have to wonder why access roads are taped off and beach access permits hard to obtain.

It is time the relevant ministers for tourism and the environment got their heads together, worked out coherent policies and ordered departments to apply them, however much it seems they might prefer to call the shots.

Gympie Times


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