‘Time for action on beach fees'
AN INCREASINGLY concerned Rainbow Beach business community wants urgent action from the State Government on one of its more damaging failures so far.
That failure is the government's apparent inaction on the pre-election promise to remove much-hated vehicle access fees for beach roads between Rainbow Beach and Noosa.
The town is especially concerned at the fees remaining on the stretch from Rainbow south to Double Island Point.
Locals this week appeared to defy the rules by driving down the beach to watch the salvage of the yacht, Australia 31, which was aground on the beach about halfway down.
Business people are increasingly concerned at damage done to their tourist trade by the beach fees, which were introduced by the previous government, at the instigation of a secret committee composed largely of members of the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and the Noosa Parks Association.
The recent closure of the Groovy Grape coffee shop and restaurant sent a small shudder through a tourist town which now is simply awaiting the next bankruptcy, according to one business operator.
Gympie MP David Gibson says he has written to the Newman Government's new National Parks Minister Steve Dickson referring to the fact that the beach fees have collected only about half the money forecast, raising the possibility that they are not even self-funding.
The fees are collected via a system of hidden cameras in the Cooloola National Park and rangers checking permits.
Mr Gibson said the fees had affected tourism and had resulted from Labor pandering to environmental groups to the detriment of tourists.
Mr Dickson's office this week said an announcement soon would answer residents' questions.