Capalaba MP Don Brown slams Labor government's four-wheel-drive permit fee increase for Straddie

NEW FEES: Minister Shannon Fentiman, the minister responsible for protected area management on North Stradbroke and Moreton islands says fees to be introduced on November 1 would be reinvested into North Stradbroke Island to boost jobs and tourism.
NEW FEES: Minister Shannon Fentiman, the minister responsible for protected area management on North Stradbroke and Moreton islands says fees to be introduced on November 1 would be reinvested into North Stradbroke Island to boost jobs and tourism.

CAPALABA MP Don Brown has slammed his own government's "poor decision" to increase vehicle access permit fees for Straddie beaches.

The minister responsible protected area management on North Stradbroke and Moreton islands Shannon Fentiman said the fees would help pay for maintenance and infrastructure after an increase of 1000 vehicles to the island in two years.

She said the fees - to be increased from $47.85 to $158 for 12 months from November 1 - would be reinvested into the island to boost jobs and tourism.

But Mr Brown said he was disappointed that no consultation had occurred, even with local MPs.

"I believe this is a poor decision that goes against trying to attract more tourism to Straddie," Mr Brown said. "I will be taking up the matter with the minister this week."

Redland mayor Karen Williams, Cr Peter Mitchell and Oodgeroo MP Mark Robinson have objected to the decision, with Mr Robinson launching a petition against the tax.

Ms Fentiman said the fees would be comparable with places like Bribie and Moreton islands.

"We have seen an increase of almost 1000 vehicles to the island in the two years since 2017-18, with more than 15,500 permits provided last financial year," Ms Fentiman said.

"As more and more vehicles access the island there is a need for better facilities and improved access for visitors. These increased fees will mean more investment in maintenance and infrastructure to boost jobs and tourism."

Ms Fentiman said the government was upgrading four-wheel-drive tracks and lookouts, as well as building walking tracks, and improving access and facilities at Brown Lake.

"We are investing $1.39 million across the island's protected areas including $400,000 for improved beach access for four-wheel drives and $220,000 for Kaboora (Blue Lake) facilities," she said.

Mr Robinson said he had launched a petition to stop the government's damaging tax grab.

"A petition is needed because tourism cannot close Labor's jobs gap with the millstone of a tourism tax hike hung around its neck," Mr Robinson said. "My community is already struggling to cope with Labor's stalling economic transition from sand mining and this is the last thing we need."

Cr Williams said the decision was symptomatic of the government not understanding the need to engage with the Straddie community.

"Regulating the number of vehicles on beaches is important to maintain the island's environmental and cultural character and this should have formed part of the education and engagement process with the community so they understood and were taken on the journey," Cr Williams said.

"The island's transition has the potential to impact generations of Redlanders so it's critical the whole community is part of these decisions and part of the island's future."

Cr Mitchell said the decision was disappointing given that families travelled to Straddie for holidays every year, bringing economic benefits for local businesses.

The new fees would see a $52.75 monthly vehicle access permit introduced, while the annual permit fee would be $158 per vehicle.

Currently Moreton Island's annual permit costs $265.30, while Bribie Island's permit is $50.60 for a week.

From November 1, a monthly permit for Stradbroke, Moreton and Cooloola will cost $52.75. An annual permit will cost $158 for Stradbroke and Bribie, and $265.30 for Moreton and Cooloola.

Vehicles using Main and Flinders beaches on Minjerribah require a vehicle access permit.

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