MINISTER Shannon Fentiman says that Straddie's four-wheel-drive access permit fees will go towards campsite upgrades and beach access improvements to be completed before the busy summer holidays.
Her comments come after a backlash from residents, visitors and politicians - including Labor MP Don Brown - about an increase in fees from November 1.
The minister responsible for protected area management on North Stradbroke and Moreton islands, Ms Fentiman said significant improvements to beach access for 4WDs and upgrades to campsites on Main and Flinders beaches on Minjerribah would begin this month and be completed before the December holidays.
She said visitors had complained of an increasing number of campers leaving rubbish on sites.
"As the number of people and vehicles accessing the island grow, there is a need for better access to 4WDs as well as facilities on the island," Ms Fentiman said.
"We're investing in 4WD beach access to ensure families can travel around the island safely. In addition to this we will also be improving access and facilities at Brown Lake as well as new walking tracks and upgrades to lookouts.
"There are ongoing improvements to beach camping areas in the recreation areas including upgrades to water facilities and toilets - this will be welcomed by both day trippers and campers on Straddie."
Federal MP Andrew Laming has added to objections from Redland mayor Karen Williams, Cr Peter Mitchell and Oodgeroo MP Mark Robinson calling for the decision to increase fees to be reversed within 30 days.
"It is also important to consult with stakeholders prior to making these decisions, not after," Mr Laming said. "This has an unfair impact on island locals who are forced to pay the higher amount. It also reduces the likelihood of return visitors.
"It further erodes the viability of vehicle ferry services and sets up QYAC for undeserved criticism."
Ms Fentiman said the vehicle access permit fees would go towards management of the recreation areas and employment of rangers, including the community ranger program.
She said that more than 15,500 permits were issued during the last financial year, reflecting an increase of almost 1000 in two years.
The new fees from November 1 would see a $52.75 monthly vehicle access permit introduced, while the annual permit fee would be $158 per vehicle.
"This means, for most families visiting Straddie for their annual holiday, they will only pay an additional $4.90 above the current fee (of $47.85 for 12 months)," Ms Fentiman said.
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.
Ms Fentiman said it was the first comprehensive review of the fees in nearly a decade.
"As the number of people and vehicles accessing the island grow, there is a need for better access for 4WDs as well as facilities on the island," she said.
"We are lucky to have one of the most stunning islands at our door-step and we want to make sure visitors and tourists have the best experience."
"That's why we are investing almost $1.4 million across the island's protected areas because we want tourists to enjoy the beautiful Stradbroke Island."
Read more local news here.
What do you think? Submit a letter to the editor using the form below.