Visitors Could Cop $10,000 Fine For Feeding Dingoes On Fraser Island
Hefty new fines could be dished out to visitors to Queensland's K'garia -- Fraser Island -- if they feed or disturb the island's dingo population.
Currently, tourists caught intentionally feeding the animals can cop a fine anywhere between $391 and $5,222 per offence.
But tough new measures proposed by the Queensland state government could see those penalties more than double at the tourism hotspot.
The new fines will see the minimum increase by more than five times to $2088 while the maximum penalty will be doubled to $10,444.
Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch, who announced the changes on Friday, hopes it will protect tourists from paying a much bigger price for getting too close to the wild animals.
The proposed changes come after three serious dingo attacks this year, including one last week which saw a young toddler miraculously escape with his life after being dragged out of his parent's campervan and mauled by two dingoes in the middle of the night.
“People need to be aware that feeding dingoes can have significant and serious consequences," Enoch said on Friday.
Over the Easter long weekend alone, six people were issued fines for not properly securing food.
“Increasing fines for those who deliberately disturb dingoes or feed them sends a very clear message about how dangerous the practice is,” Enoch said.
Along with the fine increases, the government has also proposed a raft of new changes to promote safety on the island including the construction of new fenced areas for campers, which are not accessible to dingoes.
“That plan outlines the on-ground actions to reduce negative interactions between dingoes and people and promote communication, education and the conservation of the K’gari dingoes," Enoch said.
"We want to ensure visitors and dingoes can co-exist on K'gari."
The Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation, the traditional owners of Fraser Island, welcomed the decision on Friday, despite earlier accusing the government of keeping their organisation at "arm's length" from a dingo conservation and management plan.
"The main point is the government is here today to work with us," spokeswoman Christine Royan told reporters at a round-table meeting with the government.
"Within ... five days minister Enoch has given up her time with her staff to talk with the Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation."
Royan said it was important the Butchulla people had more presence on the island and were able to provide support to the government in the management of the Island.
"Today is the beginning of opening the book and hopefully we don't see this taking another year," she said.
"It's all about getting a safe message out there to everybody that visits our country," Conway Burns from the Butchulla Land and Sea Rangers added.
Shadow Environment David Crisafulli said he backed the announcement but believed more should be done about aggressive dingoes on the island, believing they should be killed if they attack.
Featured Image: Getty
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