Council in the dark over fines
A STATEMENT given to The Gympie Times by Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones’ office has been refuted by Gympie Regional Mayor Ron Dyne.
In the statement Ms Jones’ office said that the local council and National Parks and Wildlife officers would work together to hand out $150 on the spot fines to beach drivers who didn’t purchase permits.
Mr Dyne said that Gympie Regional Council did not have the man power to issue fines to beach drivers.
When he contacted the Minister’s office they informed him Gympie Regional Council wouldn’t have to enforce the beach driving regulations.
Instead the Sunshine Coast Regional Council would be working with the government to police the beach.
Fines will be enforced from October 17 when new beach driving fees are introduced on the Cooloola Coast.
Ms Jones announced in September that charges for accessing the beach from the southern side of Middle Rock and the inland Freshwater Track would cost $15 a day ($10 over the net), $25 for two to seven days, $39.35 a month or $197.20 per year.
The fees also cover Teewah Beach south of Double Island Point to the third cutting on Noosa North Shore.
Beach access from Middle Rock to Inskip Point (excluding the bathing area and Rainbow Shores) would remain free.
Despite the fines, Ms Jones has now ruled out any compensation for business affected negatively by the introduction of beach fees, and said she will not visit the Cooloola Coast to speak to residents about her decision.
A spokesperson for Ms Jones said for the past two years the government has been listening to community concerns with in-depth consultations with community representatives, local MPs and had received 270 submissions. They said money raised from new beach fees will deliver more facilities.