Tag-along tours on Fraser Island
TAG-ALONG tours are on track to start on Fraser Island by the end of June, with most operators now signed up.
Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones yesterday said 10 out of 11 operators had been issued with commercial activity agreements which allow them to operate as tag-along tours.
“Tag-along tours are supported by the Fraser Coast 4WD Association and the Fraser Coast Regional Council,” she said.
“I want to thank the industry for their co-operation to make Fraser Island a safer place to visit.
“The next step is the requirement for all 4WD tours to operate in a tag-along arrangement with a driver-guide in the lead vehicle by June 30 this year.
“The driver-guide will require Transport and Main Roads accreditation and will lead a maximum of three vehicles.”
Ms Jones said the selling of seats in 4WD hire vehicles as part of a multi-day tour was declared a prescribed activity from January 31, which means all operators must now have a commercial activity agreement.
“The Department of Environment and Resource Management will be checking compliance and issuing infringement notices for any operators not complying and penalties apply,” she said.
“The maximum penalty is $16,500.
“As well, Queensland Transport and Main Roads has introduced a number of changes to improve safety such as lowering the speed limit, restricting passenger numbers and prohibiting top loading of 4WD hire vehicles.”
Ms Jones said the Queensland Government would continue to put significant resources into educating visitors about safety on Fraser Island.
“Information on the restrictions and hazards associated with sand driving is given to visitors when they hire a vehicle,” she said.
“DERM currently provides visitor information including visitor safety messages in seven languages to target international tourists.
“Over the Christmas and New Year holiday 50,000 copies of DERM’s sand driving brochure ‘Survive your drive on Fraser Island’ were distributed through barges, visitor information centres, 4WD hire vehicle companies, backpacker hostels, (and) permit issuing centres.”
People get a copy when they get a vehicle permit, and can also access it at the website.
A Fraser Island safe driving DVD provided free to operators by DERM is now being revised to include the new restrictions and will remain free for operators.
“Safety on Queensland’s national parks is a primary concern for the Queensland Government and I will ensure that we continue to work with the tourism sector to ensure Queensland is a safe holiday destination,” Ms Jones said.