FIDO Fraser Island Defenders Organization
FIDO, “The Watchdog of Fraser Island”, aims to ensure the wisest use of Fraser Island’s natural resources.


MOONBI is the name given by the Butchalla Aborigines to the central part of their homeland, Fraser Island or "Kgari"
MOONBI is the newsletter of Fraser Island Defenders Organization Limited, PO Box 70, BALD HILLS, QLD, 4036
FIDO's Home Page: E-Mail:
FIDO, "The Watchdog of Fraser Island", aims to ensure the wisest use of Fraser Island’s natural resources.
FIDO's Registered Office: c/- Stephen Comino and Cominos, Equity House, Lang Parade, Milton, 4065 (ACN 0099-69-135)
FIDO's Postal Address: PO Box 70, BALD HILLS QLD 4036 John Sinclair, PO Box 71, GLADESVILLE, NSW, 1675
ISSN 0311 - 032X Registered by Australia Post - Publication QBH2293 1 May, 2001

In This Issue

Queensland Political Scene
Local Scene; Election KOs CAC; Muttonbird Deaths and Tasmanian Comparison
Fraser Subsidizes Other Sites (Queensland and Federal)
No Booty for Fraser Walking Boots; Kgari Trail
Fish Expo; Kakadu Comparison; Kingfisher Sewage
News in Brief: Barge wars, Accidents, World Heritage
Visitor Statistics, New Wildlife; Hervey Bay
Report on Reports
QPWS Mission; Reviewing RAM, Fires
FIDO Executive Inspections
AGM Details; What you can do to HELP

Two Educational Supplements

This issue of MOONBI carries two Educational Supplements. These are Numbers 3 and 4 in this series.

  1. The first tries to succinctly summarize the Impacts of 4WDs on Fraser Island.
  2. The second describes the importance of maintaining the natural environmental water flow from Fraser Island streams into the waters of Hervey Bay.

Tapping the Water: Fraser Island water extraction has been recently vociferously advocated by former Member for Hervey Bay, David Dalgliesh. Elected as on a One Nation platform but voted out as a member of the City-Country Alliance, he wanted to tap Fraser Island water to meet the City of for Hervey Bay’s demands. (See p3)

Since MOONBI 98

Progress towards improving the management of Fraser Island remains frustratingly slow. It now vies for the unenviable title of Australia’s worst managed World Heritage site but hopefully things will soon change.

Little Progress for 3 Years: FIDO was optimistic until the sudden end of Rod Welford’s term as Queensland Environment Minister. However, almost every step or initiative FIDO proposed was stalled by his department. The EPA/QPWS refused to share any of its budget with Fraser Island for the last two financial years. The Fishing Expo became more entrenched. There was negligible progress to implementing the Commercial Tour Operators Visitor Management Strategy and slow progress on implementing a series of subsidiary management plans. In the end little change was achieved in almost 3 years.

Transport Study: After years of delay the QPWS is about to call tenders to undertake an urgently needed Transport and Access Study which should address the most intransigent issues arising from current recreation patterns. The study will take 2 years. In the meantime existing patterns of recreation become more entrenched. The study includes an evaluation of the feasibility and practicality of a light rail.

Fire Management Plan Progress: The most positive outcome is that the Fire Management Workshop held last August has already produced an early draft of a Fire Management Plan. This should be released as a final Draft within a few months. It is possible that we will see a final plan adopted early in 2002.

No Information Flow: FIDO has now received assurances that the QPWS Maryborough Office will provide more information to the members of the CAC on at least a monthly basis. This is a welcome and positive initiative.

Spending Comparisons: MOONBI 99 compares Fraser Island’s budget with that of other Australian World Heritage Sites and National Parks in other states and territories. Queensland parks get less than 25% of what NSW spends on its parks. (See p2)

Fraser is Short Changed: Elsewhere in this issue we report on Fraser Island‘s continuing Cinderella role. For the second year in a row the EPA/QPWS failed to deliver any of its share of consolidated revenue to help manage Fraser Island. It has been left to subsist on only Access fees that haven’t been increased for years. Up to date Fraser Island has only received 1.28% of the Commonwealth Government 2000-01 allocation for World Heritage sites. ($415,000) The Wet Tropics received 7.44% ($3,852,500). However the salt was rubbed into the wound when we found out that additionally the Wet Tropics were to get another $1 million to create a heritage walking trails network there.

Progress Promised: The situation is not quite hopeless. The QPWS has begun to take conservation criticism more seriously and have indicated progress is "just around the corner". We wait with eager anticipation.

Queensland Political Scene

In January, the Queensland Premier suddenly announced the premature election in Queensland on 17th February. It produced some dramatic results for Fraser Island.

Coalition Policy: In the lead up to the election the coalition’s environment policy didn’t at any stage mention any one of Queensland’s five (5) World Heritage sites by name nor even mention World Heritage. "World Heritage" was unmentionable, even though these sites represent Australia’s most outstanding natural areas.

FIDO applauded one part of the Coalition policy statement which was unmatched in Beattie’s Environmental Policy:

"Queensland spends $5.5 per hectare managing our parks compared with New South Wales at $24.80 per hectare, Tasmania at $10.40 per hectare and Victoria at $9.60 per hectare. A National-Liberal State Government will allocate $28 million in recurrent expenditure and $16 million in capital works to the National Parks budget over the next four years. This represents an extra $6.30 per hectare, putting the management of Queensland’s parks up with the best in the nation."

Labor’s commitment: Although Labor gave no promises on increased spending on National Parks its environment policy explicitly stated what it will do for Queensland’s World Heritage sites. Amongst other points Premier Beattie promised:

* Giving statutory recognition to Queensland’s responsibility to fulfil our obligations under the World Heritage Convention to formulate and implement WHA Management Plans that give priority to the protection and conservation of World Heritage values while presenting those values to the best advantage;

* Giving legislative effect to World Heritage area Management Plans to ensure their planning policy and principles are reflected in local planning schemes and considered in the assessment of development applications, and

* Giving priority to implementing the Great Sandy Region Management Plan (including bringing Fraser Island under the planning control of a single government agency) and finalize submissions necessary to expand the Fraser Island World Heritage area to incorporate the entire Great Sandy Region including Cooloola National Park.

These are "Core Promises" and FIDO anticipates their implementation. It is small wonder that FIDO is jubilant. We have been advocating these measures, all of which were recommended by the Fitzgerald Great Sandy Region Inquiry in 1991. Let’s hope that the Beattie Government is more successful in implementing its policies applicable to Fraser Island with more success in this term than it did in its last term, when the bureaucracy effectively stalled and frustrated the implementation of the Government’s policy.

Queensland Parks — Poor Relations

New South Wales spends $24.80 per hectare managing its National Parks, Tasmania $10.40 per hectare, Victoria $9.60 per hectare. and Queensland spends $5.5 per hectare despite the value of the parks for the State’s tourism.

New Environment Minister: Following his landslide win, Premier Beattie has appointed former Environment Minister, Rod Welford to the Attorney General portfolio and in his place former Attorney General and Education Minister, Dean Wells, has been appointed Environment Minister without the additional responsibility of natural Resources. For the environment this is a very good and positive move and it will give the environment a singular focus which was frustrated in Beattie’s first term. These distractions included the Regional Forest Agreement, land clearing and water resource allocation.

Dean Wells has both a long political career in both State and Federal politics and is a former University lecturer who is very familiar with Fraser Island having visited it several times in the 1970s and 80s. FIDO is looking forward to working closely with the new minister to ensure that the Beattie Government pledges are fulfilled in this coming Parliamentary term.

Reminiscences on FIDO Safaris

Judy Tambling

I was recently reminiscing nostalgically with Billie Watts and Terry Hampson over the wonderful visits to Fraser Island many of us used to have with our Fearless Leader, John Sinclair, in those old Army trucks, superbly driven by the late Les Greensill, always a most obliging driver/escort. He would take us to seemingly inaccessible magical places. John would say, "Just go down here, Les," pointing to what seemed like an impenetrable forest, while we, the passengers, would be thinking, "There's no way" - but Les always found a way.

There were many memorable moments on those FIDO trips to Fraser. I was reminded when John reported on the a meeting he'd had that day with the new Minister for Environment, Hon Dean Wells MLA, that day of some of the good times we all shared with Dean who attended some of the trips.

We especially enjoyed his violin accompaniments to our great after-dinner singing (led by Sue Yarrow who had the best voice) He played by ear! There was an occasion when he accompanied with gusto an impromptu vaudeville song-and-dance act performed by those great troupers, Anne Warner and Wendy Turner.

Another time as the vehicles drove on to the barge at Hook Point, Dean (already on the barge) spotted some dolphins close-by. In a flash he was off the truck and in the water, fully clothed, hoping to swim with the dolphins!

We usually arrived at Dilli Village around midnight. On one such occasion when we turned off the road from Hook Point heading down to the beach, we came to a sudden stop. To our surprise, a small dome tent was erected in the middle of the "road". Two English girls, a little the worse for wear, were rudely awakened, not only by the truck but by Dean, who had jumped out and quickly moved the tent aside. As he climbed back into the truck, he said to the girls, "If anyone asks, tell them it was the Labor Party who saved your lives."

On the Local Scene

During Queensland elections Labor gained key seats in the Great Sandy Region including for Hervey Bay and Noosa but narrowly failed to regain Maryborough.

Hervey Bay: The new Labor member for Hervey Bay is Solicitor, Andrew McNamara. FIDO has already met with him to make him aware of the urgency of the problems on Fraser Island. On 9 April FIDO members took Andrew McNamara to acquaint him with the issues related to Fraser Island which we are most concerned about. He saw the problems with the movement of sand on the roads and the size of vehicles using them as well as the impacts particularly at Yidney Lake where thousands of tonnes from the road are filling the lake. He already had a very good grasp of the situation, but he now has a better appreciation of how the prompt implementation of Labor’s policy will be a positive move towards achieving much better management of the island. We hope that he can also ensure that Fraser Island receives more resources to facilitate its better management.

Past: Former member for Hervey Bay, David Dalgliesh, was voted out decisively. Mr Dalgliesh was a reactionary who was targeting Fraser Island for future exploitation. Apart from arguing for removing it from the World Heritage List and resuming logging there, he was very vocal about exploiting Fraser Island’s water. He had petitions to Parliament being touted around shopping Centres and gathering many signatures. Many of the signatories were probably attracted to for Hervey Bay for its recreational fishing and were uninformed on the nexus between the environmental flow from Fraser Island streams and the good fishing in the bay. So many people seeing the water running down streams like Bogimbah Creek as "going to waste", that FIDO has now published a succinct paper on the positive contribution of leaving Fraser Island‘s stream untapped.

Maryborough: In the Maryborough electorate which was previously held by John Kingston who resigned from One Nation to become an Independent, Labor fell just short of the mark. FIDO will however continue to maintain contact with him and with the two local authorities, the Maryborough and for Hervey Bay City Councils.

Hervey Bay City Council: In the past FIDO has been very critical of the Hervey Bay Council for failing to spend all of the revenue it collects from Fraser Island on the island (It pockets about $120,000 per annum. We have also criticized its failures to (a) control weeds within its jurisdiction and (b) to implement a Development Control Plan for the island which is compatible with the Management Plan. However, the Council has shown foresight in helping FIDO to advance an application to get a start on the Kgari Trail. This new cooperative relationship was advanced further in April when John Sinclair was invited to address senior Council officers and councilors on our plans for ecotourism on Fraser Island.

Election KO’s the CAC

The Election produced considerable frustration for us when the Fraser Island Community Advisory Committee meeting scheduled for 16 February, the eve of the Election, was cancelled. This was despite a letter from the Director General of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Barry Carbon replied to John Sinclair who had written to the Environment Minister because, "during the caretaker period (he had) been asked to respond". He said the matters raised "will be an agenda item for the next Fraser Island Community Advisory Committee meeting on 16 February." On the same day the Manager (Great Sandy) wrote to members of the Community Advisory Committee: "The Government’s "caretaker" role ... requires the department to follow certain conventions for the business of Government to continue in a way that does not advantage or disadvantage parties or candidates nor remove or limit options for an incoming Government". He added, "In considering the conventions, the role and function of the (Community Advisory Committee) and the issues under consideration… the Executive Director of the QPWS has determined that the meeting would be cancelled."

FIDO disputes the necessity to cancel the meeting. The cancellation effectively means many issues the CAC was meant to address were stalled for months.

Compared with Tasmania

Tasmanian National Parks receive almost twice as much per hectare than Queensland parks. This is evident in the annual improvement in the state of management and presentation of the parks. For example, Cradle Mountain National Park annually attracts 180,000 visitors to an area much smaller than Fraser Island. It has 20 staff as well as 7 working exclusively on improving and upgrading the walking tracks. Fraser Island’s total QPWS workforce is now 31 to handle 330,000 visitors.

Muttonbird Deaths

In mid October tens of thousands of muttonbirds, (Short-tailed shearwaters) were washed from Fraser Island to as far south as Kempsey in northern NSW. The ocean beaches were strewn with weakened birds being tossed about in the surf and the carcasses of dead birds peppering the beach. While there is usually an annual mortality of muttonbirds on the Fraser Island beach at about this time of the year as weakened bird return from the North Pacific Ocean, this was a hundredfold heavier than the normal mortality. It was a tragedy of mammoth proportions. What is mystifying suddenness with which it occurred. On 10 October there was no evidence of this tragedy but following a change of weather on 11 October, the dead and weakened birds started appearing and the carcasses kept accumulating throughout the next two weeks.

A scientific investigation is underway. Autopsies by the QPWS on three birds washed small amounts of oil in the birds' intestines and severe liver damage. However they were also investigating of other possible causes of death, both natural and human-induced.

Muttonbirds annually head south from the Aleutian Islands, through the central Pacific, curving westward to the Australian coastline and arrive in October to November. The main nesting sites are in Victoria and Tasmania.

Fraser subsidizes other Sites

There are continuing revelations which show that Fraser Island is being short changed when compared with other National Parks and World Heritage areas:

Queensland Government

Tourism Contribution: Fraser Island is on the "hot list" for international travelers and is one of the world's top island tourist destinations. Latest calculations show that Fraser Island is contributing over $250 million to the Queensland economy annually yet it receives a less than half the money needed (at least $10 million) to make the current rate of visitation is sustainable.

However, Fraser Island's share of consolidated revenue has now been used to subsidize the operations of other National Parks in South East Queensland. The rationale for this siphoning away of resources from Fraser Island is to preserve over 20 other Ranger positions in other southern Queensland National Parks. That is too difficult a position for the QPWS to take.

Thus Fraser Island users are hit twice. They not only have to pay to visit the island but they now find that because they are contributing about $3.2 million annually to visit the island, they get inferior, under-resourced management in return. They are helping to prop up the management of other National Parks.

The Queensland Government cannot allow this wonderful World Heritage asset to run down in such a shameful way because of its miserable policies on financing the management of National Park s. They must find the money to protect our greatest natural assets.

MOONBI 98 reported that $100,000 was allocated in the last Queensland Budget for developing the"Lake Allom camping area". Nine months later we discovered that this money was diverted by the without any outside consultation to add to the building of a new Central Station campground.

Potential Future Money

Although the QPWS has Fraser Island of its share of the budget for the last two years, as a result of work put in by Rod Welford as Minister it looks destined to fare better in the future. It looks as if we should be eligible for an early grant to spend some of the promised $2 million per annum to be spent on developing "The Great Walks Queensland" for the next 5 years. This may see the completion of the Kgari Trail within the next 2 years. (See next page). Another core promise of the new Beattie Government is to spend $10 million p.a. for the next 3 years to fund 140 new Ranger positions. When this materializes we have been assured that a significant number of these positions will be Fraser Island. There is also a move to ensure that in future the Commonwealth will be asked to match state contributions $ for $.

Commonwealth Government

During the World Heritage Committee in Cairns in November, Federal Environment Minister, Senator Robert Hill announced $12,273,250 new spending for seven, (7) Australian World Heritage sites. This was only 88% of the 1999-2000 Commonwealth allocation for these sites.

In the case of Fraser Island, Senator Hill approved the spending of $415,000. This covered just 4 of the 31 potential projects nominated. Unfortunately this was the same list presented to CAC from which the 1999-2000 allocations were made without CAC being given the opportunity to review the list.

FIDO is really upset that not only were the projects chosen not even notified CAC, but Fraser Island has ended up with projects for which should have a very low priority. $415,000 represents only about 60% of what the Commonwealth gave Fraser Island in 1999-2000. FIDO was told that there may be still more money to come to Fraser Island for World Heritage. We hope so!

The list of Australian World Heritage sites continues to increase (14 with the addition of the Blue Mountains). Thus the Howard Government (which has never been generous to Fraser Island) is likely to be even meaner to it unless they have some as yet undisclosed plans when the current NHT funds are exhausted within a year.

Just compare the following table for the critical seven World Heritage sites:

Federal $ for State Managed WH Sites

Site99-00 $00-01$%99%00$
Wet Tropics$3,852,500$3,378,00087.6%7.44%
Willandra Lakes$340,000$137,50040.4%0.66%
Lord Howe Isle$453,000$200,00044.2%0.87%
Shark Bay$450,250$322,85071.7%0.87%
Fraser Island$662,500$415,00062.6%1.28%

Explanation: Not all of the money for 2000 had been allocated but the poor relations of Australia‘s World Heritage sites still end up with only about 30% of the World Heritage allocation. The big three, the Great Barrier Reef, Kakadu and Uluru, share the other 70%.

The poorest five sites on this list received only 5.2% of the total Commonwealth 1999-2000 allocation for World Heritage. However they were not able to spend it where there was the greatest need. The Commonwealth has insisted on funding only specific projects approved by Senator Hill. Thus projects which are a very low priority are often funded.

Flushing With Federal Money

Senator Hill provided $45,000 to replace the already functioning toilet block at Ungowa on the western shores of Fraser Island which has fewer than 1500 visitors a year while he refused to fund the most urgent priority a transport and access study for the island. There seems to be no similar ministerial scrutiny though of the projects undertaken in the Tasmanian Wilderness or the Wet Tropics. They respectively received $5.0 million and $3.2 million for baseline funding. This gesture was more than just "Spending a penny".

No Booty for Fraser Walking Boots

In December the Queensland and Commonwealth Government announced that they would give an extra $1 million dollars to create a network of walking tracks in the Wet Tropics. This is additional the Wet general funding. Fraser Island, Cinderella of Australia’s World Heritage sites, was again left out of the consideration.

Senator Hill and Premier Beattie said, "This walking track has the potential to attract the same international attention as the renowned walking areas of Milford Sound in New Zealand and Cradle Mountain in Tasmania." Senator Hill said the grant demonstrated the Commonwealth Government's commitment to presenting World Heritage values and in supporting tourism growth in rural areas, he again overlooked Fraser Island.

FIDO has long advocated a better walking track system on Fraser Island which has one of the best climates and environments for walking trails in the world but it continued to be overlooked. We long complained that the QPWS failed to deliver to the Walking Management Plan (paid for by the Commonwealth Government in 1994).

MOONBI 96 reported: Economic and recreational potential: FIDO believes that within a decade with better management, there will be a "Kgari Trail" down the length of Fraser Island which could become even more famous and more popular than Australia's best known bushwalking trail, Tasmania's Overland Track between Cradle Mountain and Lake St. Clair, which is worth millions of dollars in the tourist traffic it annually draws to Tasmania. Fraser Island offers a more pleasant climate, a greater choice of routes, greater length and is suitable for walking all year round. Fraser Island can match the rugged mountain scenery of Tasmania and has the bonus of not being plagued with snow and slush . If properly promoted Fraser Island could attract at least as many walkers as the Overland Track and be worth even more to the local economy.

Establishing the Kgari Trail

FIDO Responds to Challenge: Following the lack of allocation for Fraser Island walking trails, the Hervey Bay City Council agreed to apply for $60,000 from the Beattie Government to build Stage 1 of the Kgari Trail covering the 70 kilometre long central section between Lake Garawongera and Wathumba Creek. This is

The Kgari Walking Trail is a walking trail (away from motorized vehicle routes) extending from Sandy Cape to Hook Point, the full length of Fraser Island which has the potential to become Australia’s premier long distance bushwalking destination.

"Kgari", "Gurry" and "Garry" (Garry’s Anchorage) are all interpretations of the Aboriginal name for Fraser Island for thousand of years before it became a World Heritage site. Kgari is also the name proposed by the local Butchalla people for the Aboriginal Educational and Cultural Centre on the eastern end of the Woralie Track when it reopens within the next year.

The existing network of vehicular tracks was designed to meet the needs of the timber industry which operated on Fraser Island until 1991. Most vehicle tracks run south east to north west. Few run north south which is the main direction for long distance walks. Thus there is a need to construct new walking trails to augment the network of vehicular tracks to offer more interesting and challenging walking trails on Fraser Island.

Since 1976 FIDO has proposed a long distance Kgari Trail on Fraser Island. Our proposal also involves branch trails to special features such as sandblows, superb examples of forest such as the "Valley of the Giants".

A Kgari Trail complements other walking options including both the eastern and western beaches. Both have very attractive aesthetic features of coloured sands and shore patterns. The east coast has the rocky headlands and the west coast has Wathumba Creek estuary. Thus walkers have the options of walking the length of Fraser Island three times, rarely duplicating any section.

Challenge: Few walks in Australia‘s natural areas can match the length of the Fraser Island longest walk, the Kgari Trail. It takes at least seven days of reasonable walking to complete the length of the island without significant side tracks to special features. In 1976 John Sinclair covered the distance in 8 days. In 1999 he took 10 days. Of Australia’s best know walks and most popular long distance walks, Tasmania’s Overland Track takes between 3 to 5 days to traverse; the Six Foot Track in the Blue Mountains takes 2 to 3 days; the Thorsburne Trail on Hinchinbrook Island can be traversed in 3 days, and Tasmania’s South West Track and the Port Davey Track each take about 5 or 6 days to traverse.

Climate: Fraser Island offers one of the most benign climates in Australia for walking. It lies in a region where there is the least variation of temperatures range which remain mainly in the 20-26C degree maximum all year and where frosts are extraordinary. It lies in an area without excessive wind. This contrasts with other major walking destinations which are heavily dependent on seasonal factors and are mainly based in high latitudes (Tasmania) or high altitudes (the Alps or the Blue Mountains. Fraser Island offers great walking conditions in winter when is quite dangerous to consider long distance walks on many of Australia’s better known trails.

Walking conditions: Fraser Island has the bonus of not being plagued with snow and slush. Even in wet conditions the ground does not become slippery or boggy underfoot. There is no danger of flooded streams even in cyclonic conditions. The only risks on Fraser Island come from fires and falling trees and these are minimal and much less than on other walking trails.

Variety: Fraser Island's potential for a variety of routes is its great attractions. Fraser Island’s its lakes and rainforest and coloured sands can match the rugged mountain scenery of Tasmania. Further, in Tasmania walkers are confined to a set route. On Fraser Island there are a variety of options which involve a choice of walking down the centre of the island which following the Kgari Trail or walking on either the western beach or the surfing beach or by selecting a mix of these three routes. Already an increasing number of serious walkers and international visitors are attracted to Fraser Island. Its reputation is rapidly spreading by word of mouth.

Economic Value: FIDO believes that within a decade the "Kgari Trail" down the length of Fraser Island could become Australia's best known bushwalking trail. The Overland Track, currently Australia’s best known walking trail, is worth millions of dollars in the tourist traffic it annually draws to Tasmania. Fraser Island offers a more pleasant climate, a greater choice of routes, greater length and is suitable for walking all year round.

Fraser Island Fishing Expo

Parks Service Defensive: The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service has been outraged that MOONBI 98 dared to be critical of its handling of the Fraser Island Fishing Expo held in May 2000.

Not "Sanitized": The Executive Director was particularly indignant that at our reference to the "five months which it spent sanitizing the report on the 2000 Fishing Expo in order to ensure that the event continue," which he found offensive. If the report wasn’t being "sanitized", MOONBI wants to know why it took from mid June (when the field officers filed their report) until late October before it was delivered to CAC members.

Not Sustainable: FIDO does not resile from its view that the QPWS has lost sight of its mission to properly manage World Heritage when evaluating the impact of the impact of the Fraser Island Fishing Expo on this World Heritage site. The QPWS has failed to evaluate the impact on the marine environment and its role in establishing unsustainable patterns of recreation on the island which the event is creating. The QPWS has been more concerned with peripheral issues such as managing the visitation for the event in terms of visitor behaviour.

In its management of Fraser Island FIDO has long concluded that the QPWS has not advanced beyond the Bjelke-Petersen days when the whole government focus was on recreation management rather than on a larger picture of the wisest use of Fraser Island. This culture has been inherited from the Forestry Department which in 1978 produced a Recreation Management Plan for Fraser Island without considering the impact of the logging and mining. Now the culture still considers recreation management its priority regardless of the impact it is having on Fraser Island‘s World Heritage values.

Fishing Expo or Backpackers Worse?

A person who returned from the last Fraser Toyota fishing classic as a worker behind the scenes and not as an entrant but wrote to MOONBI agreeing in a "very small part" with FIDO's comments on the Fishing Expo. He questioned the behaviour of some of the other "tourists or backpackers" who frequent the island.

He said, "I was appalled to see foreign visitors digging up sand dunes near Indian head on Saturday and swimming in the champagne pools with beer bottles yes glass bottles. I know a small group of fisherman do need some education on proper manners but I do feel that compared to the young backpackers who hire large troop carriers and then have no regard for beach etiquette nor wildlife. I hope that something is done to curb the irresponsible behaviour displayed by any person whether they be part of a competition or simply there on vacation. Strong penalties should be enforced and permit bans for blatant disregard for what is a truly wonderful place."

Comparisons with Kakadu

Fraser Island has been frequently compared with Kakadu. Although we acknowledge the great significance and size of this sister World Heritage site, it has flourished at Fraser Island’s expense. Until a few years ago the visitor numbers for Fraser Island and Kakadu were similar. However, more recently there has been falling off of Kakadu visitation while Fraser Island’s visitor numbers continue to steadily grow. In 1999 there were 211,491 visitors to Kakadu National Park but this had shrunk by about 5% to 200,752 in 2000. Fraser Island has over 300,000 visitors and a budget (including both State and Commonwealth inputs) of less than $5 million. Kakadu’s annual budget exceeds $10 million.

Each Visitor = 1 Tonne + of Sand Lost

During the last three years (1998-2001) one million people visited Fraser Island. During that period it is conservatively estimated that over 1 million tonnes of sand was sluiced along the roads of Fraser Island. That amounts to an average of one tonne of sand relocated for every visitor. This rater of degradation is likely to continue until a new more sustainable form of transport is established on the island.

Kingfisher Sewage Discharge

Kingfisher Bay Resort Village Pty Ltd’s provisional license for the sewage discharge expired on 1 March, 2001. This had been kept a deep secret from FIDO which has been pressing for it to have more stringent standards applied on its discharge license since we learnt that the then DG of the then DEH (Dr Craig Emerson, now a Labor Federal MP) applied overly lenient standards when the resort opened a decade ago.

Kingfisher Resort is located in the Fraser Island World Heritage area and discharges its sewage effluent into Great Sandy Strait, which is both a Ramsar Wetland of International Significance and a Fisheries Habitat Reserve. It should comply with the most stringent standards for tertiary treatment of sewage Australia. The standards should not be any less than is required for the island resorts of the Great Barrier Reef.

Kingfisher Resort purports to be a model for sustainable ecotourism but it has not been adhering to the highest standards of environmental responsibility when it has come to its responsibility for sewage discharge. Hopefully the EPA will now ensure that this resort’s performance live up to its rhetoric at least with respect to its sewage discharge.

News In Brief

Accidents will happen: The number of accidents often resulting in fatalities on Fraser Island continues. Amongst recent reports have been stories of vehicles with young overseas tourists rolling over and a man drowning while pursuing his drifting boat. many accidents and medical dramas don't make the news columns. Increasing visitor numbers mean more marine stings, animal bites, fish hook injuries and general illnesses. Resort owners, residents and rangers are all seeking a full time medical presence on the island — a doctor, para-medic or a nurse. The Ambulance service has established a station which is staffed in holiday periods but the service says that the work-load on the island does not justify its use at other times. Few people are willing to accept the idea that Fraser Island is a frontier and that people need to be self-reliant. They want it to be tamed with the same services which exist in any large urban community!

Bus Disaster: On 9 March a Top Tours bus with 25 mainly overseas tourists aboard tipped on a tree adjacent to Yidney Lake and then slid several metres down an embankment towards Yidney Lake. Thirteen people were flown to hospitals in for Hervey Bay Maryborough for treatment. This accident only FIDO‘s argument that such large and heavy vehicles should not be allowed to continue to use the unstable sand tracks Fraser Island.

Dingos Dramatized: During the annual media "silly season" there was an on-going saga in the Maryborough- Hervey Bay media on the need to feed Fraser Island dingos. A number of ratbag arguments have been advanced for feeding dingoes which many claim as being under nourished and under populated. One supporter of their feeding claims that the dingoes had "ribs looking like Xylophones". FIDO remains very concerned at the culling. Several dingoes have been shot at the request of resorts because they have been deemed to be rogues and exhibited "inappropriate behaviour" to tourists. The advocates for feeding refuse to accept that dingoes are wild dogs and once fed they will be little more than domestic animals.

FIDO has played an active role in the development of the Dingo Management Strategy and we are now comfortable with the strategy as printed on the last draft we saw. For this we commend the QPWS. Our concern now is that the policy we last saw in November, 2000 is adopted despite the ill informed hysteria which has been generated during the past silly season.

Barge Wars (at last): A barge war has opened up on the southern end of Fraser Island as Sid Melksham faces an end to his monopoly which the ACCC had refused to investigate. The new service was begun by Kostas Ladas who had worked for Sid Melksham for 11 years. Just before the introduction of a new barge between Inskip Point and Fraser's Hook Point, the Melksham barges were charging $70 per vehicle and $4 per passenger. It had increased four times in the previous 12 months. When new service began, fares immediately dropped back to $55 per vehicle (passengers free). In the last barge wars 11 years ago there was some aggressive under-cutting of prices which eventually succeeded in forcing Gordon Elmer out of business. Sid Melksham has said that he would fight the competition to the end. There have been reports published of near collisions between the barges and claims of illegal use of beach sections said to have been leased by Mr Melksham from the Ports Corporation. Already he has initiated court action.

FIDO appreciates the new barge wars because it may help to reduce the cost of visitation to the island which had grown to more than double the cost of the access fees charged by the Queensland Government. The cost of the barges and operations have to be compared with the cost of the maintenance of this priceless natural world wonder. Because of the exorbitant barge fees, (the same price as taking a vehicle across Bass Strait, Access fees had not been increased for several years resulting in Fraser Island's budget being eroded away.

$870,000 remaining SAP Money: In 1991 the then Queensland Premier, Wayne Goss and the Australian Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, provided $36 Million for a Strategic Adjustment Package to compensate the region for the loss of its timber industry and the subsequent nomination of the site for the World Heritage List. It was intended that much of this money would simultaneously help employment as well as assisting to protect the World Heritage values of Fraser Island. Redundancy packages, compensation to commercial interests and some ill advised projects such as shutting down the Orchid Beach resorts chewed up most of the money in the first five years but four years ago it was realized that $870,000 remained unspent. In the last Federal Election campaign it was announced that it would be spent but prevarication by the Australian Government on how it should be spent means that there still has been no decision on how to allocate the money. Doubtless more promises will be made in the lead up to the coming Federal election. It will amount to multiple counting and political opportunism.

World Heritage Committee Meeting: FIDO was represented at the World Heritage Committee (WHC) meetings in Cairns in November by John Sinclair. It was an illuminating experience. Despite Redneck rhetoric, we can attest that Colonel Gaddafi and other political pariahs were not present. Nor was there any interest by any countries in taking over any part of Australia's World Heritage properties. In fact FIDO is disappointed that there has been not enough concern by the WHC in how Australia is managing its 14 World Heritage properties, particularly Fraser Island. That matter will soon be addressed though because in a little over 18 months time Australia has to give an accounting for its management of all its properties to the WHC. FIDO is firmly of the view that the Australian Government needs to be reminded of its obligations under the World Heritage Convention by the WHC before the evaluation finally takes place in November, 2002.

Fraser Island Visitor Statistics

1996-971997-98% Change1998-9999-2000% Change
1 month permits130,163138,574+ 6.5%135,763135,667+ 0%
12 month permitsnananana
Camping permits93,61594,310+ 6.7%106,019100,582-5.2%
Exemption labelsnana32031,516
Commercial tours143,459156,579+9.1%158,422176,868+11.6%
Total visitor numbers273,622295,153+7.9%297,388314,051+9.4%

Source: Department of Environment Annual Reports

Numbers Mainly Grow in 2 Sectors

It is interesting that the growth in Fraser Island tourism continues exponentially and that almost all of the increase is coming from passengers on commercial tours. The number of FITs has virtually plateaued, likewise the number of those going who are camping shows relatively little change.

Backpacker FITs: There has been a significant change in the composition of the FITs. The number of traditional Australian family groups has declined and the number of overseas backpackers is increasing. These people are taking up the camping permits which Australians are opting out of. It is estimated that the number of independent backpackers who pile into hire 4WDs now constitute about 10% of all visitors to Fraser Island about 20% of the number of camper nights.

Continuing Growth: Figures available for the first 7 months of the 2000-01 indicate about a 6% increase in visitation over the previous corresponding period.

Not Counted: What is not clear is the number of people and the frequency of people travelling on the exempt and 12 month permits. FIDO estimates that if these were included visitation to Fraser Island now exceeds a third of a million visitors annually.

Hervey Bay Cooperation

FIDO has welcomed the opportunity to establish new and healthy cooperative relationships in Hervey Bay. On 9 April the new Labor Member for Hervey Bay in the Queensland Parliament, Andrew McNamara, accompanied FIDO members on a full day inspection of Fraser Island.

On 10 April, John Sinclair was invited to address the Hervey Bay City Council workers with an interest in the management of Fraser Island. This follows the strong support by the Council in making a joint submission to the Queensland Government to build Stage 1 of the new Kgari Trail. FIDO has had reasons to be critical of some aspects of the local government's approach to Fraser Island in the past but the new partnership is very encouraging. These contacts are the beginning of a new and constructive relationship which we hope will continue.

New Wildlife Observations

The continuing discoveries of species not previously recorded from Fraser Island is continuing at a very considerable pace. Resource rangers based at Eurong have combed Fraser Island observing, trapping and recording and this has been added to by observations reported by the general public. Of the many interesting bird sightings were two wedge-tailed shearwaters which had bands on showing that they had been banded in 1978 22 years earlier.

Unfortunately the species recorded are mainly of larger sized creatures and there has been little new data added on the flora list other than weeds which the QPWS is busy trying to eradicate. While there has been some recordings of insects such a rare hawk moth and the Blue tiger and Sword-grass brown butterflies in March, there has not been much to report on the less observable invertebrates such as ants or springtails. It is also worth mentioning that recently the World Heritage values of Cooloola were enlarged as a result of the significance of the discovery of such a diversity of boletes, a particular type of fungi there. Unfortunately there has not been as much scientific work done on Fraser Island as Cooloola to confirm whether there is an equal or greater diversity of any of the species recorded in Cooloola on the this adjacent island.

Vale Bill Lambourne

FIDO has a long and fascinating history which now extends over 30 years during which we have made countless friends. One of the most enduring was Bill Lambourne whose first encounter with FIDO was soon after it was formed in 1971 when he was working for the Dillingham Mining Company as a draftsman and was in the Maryborough Mining Warden's Court to help them present their case. However it was not long after that he left the sandmining company and then approached FIDO and offered to print and publish a map of Fraser Island which FIDO could sell. This was done with a coloured topographic map which was more detailed, explanatory and readable than the official Forestry maps. FIDO maps out-sold the Forestry maps until the latter, which had more professional resources and marketing support managed to take back the market after several years. In the meantime Bill Lambourne and FIDO had developed other joint ventures including publishing of books including "Discovering Fraser Island" and "Discovering Cooloola".

Our friendship with this former employee of our most famous adversary became a friend for life — a life which was only prematurely ended in March as a result of complications from what should have been simple surgery. It was a tragic and premature end to a wonderful life and an enduring partnership which helped FIDO survive in the 1970s when the opposition was most daunting. We will miss him.

Report On Reports

FIDO has so long been frustrated by the lack of progress on Fraser Island. We have therefore decided to introduce a new feature to MOONBI to summarize the progress being made towards developing and implementing the many plans which are subsidiary to the Great Sandy Region Management Plan which has been languishing for too long. This report attempts to summarize the progress and lack of it in improving the management of the island;

"Final report of the review of tourism activities in the Great Sandy Region": After two years in preparation and production and consultation, Environment Minister Littleproud adopted this report in May, 1998. This report on "Managing visitors and commercial operations for ecological sustainability" had produced much evidence including the EDAW study which concluded that existing visitor usage of the area was unsustainable. Although this report was endorsed by the Environment Minister and the Environment Department and set of time lines for implementation on p. 17, the whole report has languished and seems to have been shelved:

Deadlines set included: Visitor management Strategy by June 1999, Camping plan by August 98, roads, vehicles by November 98, southern lakes master plan by June 99. There were to have been 10 actions to implement a new policy on commercial activities and new opportunities for permits all to be completed by June 99.

To date the only progress which the QPWS has claimed has been that there has been has to review the Commercial Tour Operator licenses for Cooloola. This is a clear case of surrendering to the commercial interests who wanted to maintain the status quo even though this report demonstrated so clearly that the existing practices are unsustainable and that of 26 routes assessed (1997) "12 show signs of impacts above acceptable levels with five showing signs of high impact". Yet nothing has changed and at the current rate this report will never be implemented, much to the delight of existing vested interests opposed to change.

Dingo Management Strategy: The long awaited Dingo Management Plan has finally all but been resolved. FIDO accepted the penultimate draft and we are not expecting many changes in the final report which the Minister is expected to accept and release within the next few weeks. It has been a difficult process. It was made more difficult by an uncompromising element who will not accept scientific evidence and who claim that the Fraser Island dingos are starving and that the QPWS should set up feeding stations for them. This was contrary to FIDO's submissions which is focussed on three principles -

  1. maintaining a viable genetic pool,
  2. keeping dingos as wildlife rather than domestic dogs, and
  3. monitoring the situation humanely to re-instill a wariness of humans so that dingos avoid approaching them.

Fire Management Plan (FMP): It took many years of urging by FIDO to see the start of the Fraser Island FMP. On past performance we had not expected anything so soon after the August fire management workshop. However in April the QPWS tabled a very impressive first draft of the policy. This still has a long way to go but the progress has been positive and prompt. It is timely because there have been a number of fires on the island in the last six months during a time when traditionally Rangers avoided any fires on the island. The impact though has not been as disastrous as the media has indicated.

Camping Management Plan (CMP): In October 1998 the CAC was presented with a Draft CMP for comment. FIDO did comment and hoped that many of the changes we put forward would be considered before the Draft CMP was circulated for public comment in 1999. This was clearly another case where the CAC input was wholly ignored. Comments from the public had to be submitted by 14 July, 1999 and the Report stated: "The final plan is due to be released later in 1999." It took until March 2001 to compile a "Review of Submissions" to present to the Management Committee and the CAC. Elsewhere in MOONBI 99 is an explanation of the treatment of the submissions in which it seems that few of FIDO's recommendations will be accepted.

FIDO's was one of 73 submissions. 59 were made by individuals (including a large section of commercial fishers and some coming from the same families), 2 by 4WD Clubs, 3 by bushwalking groups, 2 by associations representing island residents, 1 by a Commercial Tour Operator, 2 by Commonwealth Government agencies, and 1 by the Wondunna Aboriginal Corporation. Because of circumstances at the time, FIDO was the only voluntary conservation organization to put in a submission. Although FIDO was delegated to make a detailed submission on behalf of the voluntary conservation movement.

Commercial fishers have permanent camp-sites on the beach at Waddy Point and have had permanent camps there for the last 10 years in contravention of the Recreation Areas Management (RAM) Act. The double standards shown in the execution of this act are shown by the fact that in 1990-91 the same RAM Act was used to forcibly make protesters against continued Fraser Island logging move camp while at the same time these fishers were sanctioned to stay unmoved.

FIDO's was seen as just one submission against a number of individual fishers as well as the Queensland Commercial Fisherman's Organization. Recommendations for any changes to the CMP seem to overwhelmingly favour the fishers. A similar ruling seems imminent on Indian Head where the submissions of FIDO and the Aborigines seems to count for nothing.

Walking Track Management Plan (WTMP): There has been some belated but positive progress on developing a Draft WTMP started in 1996. At last one was presented to the Management Committee in March. It has coincided with a great deal of money about to be made available as an election commitment by the Beattie Government to provide $2 million for five (5) years to establish the Great Walks of Queensland. We have been assured that a long distance walk the full length of Fraser Island will be top of the list to implement this program. There are still details to be worked out in relation to the draft walking plan but at last there is some progress.

Data Briefs

The intensity of visitation at peak times was illustrated by a report to the Fire Management Workshop that QPWS officers had counted 515 camps at Indian Head on one day. There are no toilet facilities and little privacy within 4 kms of Indian Head.

At the same workshop figures quoted on the breakdown of Fraser Island expenditure was: General operations = 65.2%; management infrastructure (Maryborough office) = 8.7%; recreation management = 14.5%; visitor management = 4.1%; natural resource management = 4.9%; fire management = 1.3%.

The QPWS Mission

The culture of the QPWS has evolved from an amalgam of the cultures of many sources from which its personnel has been drawn. As the National Park estate expanded it took over many Forestry areas and former Forestry staff who were working in those areas. This is particularly true of Fraser Island. Most of the staff were thus previously committed to the exploitation of the areas within their jurisdiction to some degree. Thus the support for the conservation ethic and the Service's declared mission: "to present and protect Queensland's natural heritage in an ecological sustainable way to enhance our economic and social well-being" is not as strong as the politicians, the public generally and most conservationists had expected. The Service in the view of an increasing number of critics is more devoted to maximizing the economic returns of the national park estate than they are with maximizing and preserving the bio-diversity within it.

Reviewing the RAM Act

The QPWS is in the process of reviewing the RAM Act. This Act has more relevance to Fraser Island than anywhere else. Fraser Island accounts for three times the income of the other three RAM sites combined. For the last two years virtually all the Queensland Government's contribution to operate this World Heritage site has been derived from the income collected by the RAM

Submissions on Stage 1 of the review are due by 20 April. FIDO made a submission is based around the following principles:

  • Access fees should be increased to be indexed to what they were first introduced to Fraser Island in 1985. Thereafter the access fees should be indexed annually to the CPI index. This should yield Fraser Island a significantly increased level of revenue.
  • FIDO also advocates a review of charges for many users who are currently contributing nothing to the management of the island including the light aircraft which are operating from the beach and risking public safety as well as other commercial operators including vehicle recovery services and vendors.
  • FIDO wants a review of the objectives of the RAM Act to ensure that a greater share of the revenue collected will be spent on natural and cultural resource management.
  • FIDO is seeking to extend the RAM area beyond the low water mark to cover in-shore boat based recreation along Fraser's western shores and fishing along the eastern shores.

Balancing Competing Interests

A serious problem has arisen with the management of Fraser Island and other natural sites within Queensland being managed by the QPWS. That is over what weight is given to submissions to protect the environmental values. This became very apparent in the QPWS evaluation of submissions responding to the Draft Fraser Island Camping Management Plan. (CMP)

There are many stakeholders in Fraser Island: Aborigines, adjacent communities of Hervey Bay and Maryborough, bushwalkers, fishers, 4WD-ers, commercial tour operators, property owners, people who just want to holiday there and conservation. All have viewpoints and all are represented on the CAC. Their responses to the various draft documents creates a problem in reconciling competing interests in coming up with management policies. Compounding the dilemma is the fact that Fraser Island is a World Heritage site with special values which have to be safeguarded.

Not all votes or submissions should be given equal value. Each voice, vote or submission may not be worth equal weight. FIDO’s submissions on behalf of hundreds of members and the voluntary conservation movement in general, aimed at protecting the World Heritage values deserve a greater weight than submissions motivated primarily from self-interest.

We expect the QPWS (or whoever is evaluating submissions) to arbitrate between competing interests on the basis of the public interest and Fraser Island's World Heritage values. FIDO's very prickly relationship with the QPWS in recent years is because this has not always been done. Undue weighting seems to be given to accommodating the wishes of commercial and recreational interests at the expense of World Heritage values. This is particularly true when it has come to implementing a policy on commercial tourism and decisions on.


A fire in the Wathumba area escaped from smoldering peat in October to burn out most of the area between Wathumba Creek and Sandy Cape. On Christmas Day another fire escaped from smoldering peat in the Wathumba Swamp and then burnt out 20,000 hectares between Wathumba and Dundubara between then and the first week of January. Not all such fires, are necessarily disastrous. There was a mosaic burning pattern although the size of the area burnt is much greater than we would have preferred to see in a single coupe. Lightning was responsible for igniting a 50 hectare fire south of Ungowa in January and another 1000 hectares were burnt south of Eurong in a December wildfire. These unintended fires have confirmed FIDO's long held view that trying to limit planned fires to the cooler and drier months from May to September isn't justified and that fires can occur during the wetter months sometimes achieving a better end result.

The University of Queensland now has plans for a $180,000 research project into the impact of fire on Fraser Island on flora and fauna to be carried out by a multi-disciplinary team of scientists and graduate students both from Gatton College and St. Lucia over the next couple of years. This should be a valuable adjunct and assist the QPWS in fine tuning the Fire Management Plan to minimize adverse impacts on flora and fauna.

FIDO Executive Inspections

From President Ian Matthews

The FIDO Executive carried out inspections of the island in November 2000 and March 2001.

Over the last few years the FIDO Executive has made regular trips to Fraser Island . We do this in part because we love the place, but also to be familiar with what is happening on the island, so that we can make informed comments to you, our members. Governments, the media, and the community generally

The inspections are paid for individually, not from FIDO resources. Often spouses or friends accompany us. I have been in the habit of taking one of my chi1dren (currently 6,4 and 3) each trip. John Sinclair Jr. has brought Laura, 3, to give her the opportunity to enjoy the place that her paternal great grand-parents treasured, and her grand-father spends so much of his time protecting and also to have a good time.

November Inspection

November was a good time to visit the island, with Spring still in the air, some blooms remaining, and before the crowds of Summer.

Most of the visitors we encountered were couples or small groups of international "backpackers" spending 3 or so days on the island in hire vehicles from Hervey Bay. We can but hope that they reflected a genuine change in visitors’ attitudes to the island, as they were interested in seeing the World Heritage qualities rather than simply using the island as a remote party venue.

Several observations of the island are outstanding from the inspection:

  • Signage has been updated, particularly walking tracks and meeting points for walkers. This is appreciated, although the failure to produce a Draft Walking Track Plan remains a serious concern. The promotion of Fraser Island for walking holidays would be a huge boost to the local economy, and be far kinder on the environment of the island than the existing emphasis on 4WDs.
  • Facilities at Lake Garawongera have been upgraded, with mixed results. The interpretive signs, picnic facilities and toilets are a significant improvement, as is the relocation of the road away from the foreshore. However the Central Station style corrals for vehicles, and tonnes of woodchips on walking tracks tend to detract from the visitor experience.
  • HOOK POINT ROAD: The road from Hook Island to Dilli Village needs attention. This is the old bitumen sand-mining road, and it is used to bypass the bottom of the island at High Tide. We have periodically suggested that it be improved for part of its’ length to allow closure of part of the eastern beach. We traveled the entire length of the road, which has had no real work done on it in 25 years. It took us an hour to travel the 20 kilometres. There are many stretches of a hundred metres where the bitumen has completely disappeared, and the surface is corrugated gravel and sand. These are the best parts. For most of its length, much of the bitumen remains but has potholes up to 3 metres wide and 50cm deep into soft sand. The only vehicles moving faster than 20 kph were hire vehicles driven by people who did not care of the impact they where having on their vehicles. In its current state it is not a viable alternative to the beach. This is disappointing for several reasons:
    1. The safety of visitors is at risk as people risk driving the beach at high tide to avoid the inland road.
    2. The opportunity to provide a beach for birds to nest and rest on the eastern beach is lost.
    3. The chance to develop a traffic free recreational area has been delayed.

The cheapest upgrade would be to plough up the remaining bitumen and using this to surface the road. As only 4WDs use this road this would be a simple and effective improvement. Resources then need to be made available to regularly maintain this road, as occurs on all other roads.

March Inspection

Seeing Fraser Island through the eyes of a child brings back to us the delights that Fraser Island holds. Tom our 4year old, was enraptured by the Champagne Pools at low surrounded by a dozen different ~ of fish, crabs and shell fish. He was oblivious to the crowds, the backpackers and the huge cost of the boardwalk.

Similarly his amazement at the beauty of Eli Creek and the joy of being carried downstream by the force of water, was not impacted by the hundreds of people, the dozens of cars and six buses. The four planes which kept taking off and landing on the beach seemed not to register, as he was so interested in the kingfishers and butterflies.

We have always known that addressing the impacts of tourism on Fraser Island was always going to be harder than getting the message about logging or sandmining through to the community. Watching fresh eyes see Fraser Island has brought this home again.

Fraser Island remains magnificent, especially to newcomers. It is so different to anything else in the world that its difference tends to diminish impact of the crowds , at least in the minds of people.

Unfortunately, the increasing crowds are having an adverse impact on the native flora and fauna. We saw only 5 Pied oyster-catchers along the East Coast from Hook Point to Ocean Lake, and no Beach Thick knees. Tern numbers were down dramatically.

Woodchips are ending up in Birrabeen from an access road for Tour Operators. Woodcbips continue to spill into other lakes, showing that current tourism practices are unsustainable.

FIDO is in the unusual position that we almost have to single mindedly have to get the message through to State and Federal Governments about what is happening on Fraser Island.

Usually the National Parks and Wildlife staff would be alarmed at the disappearance of species and be suggesting strategies to redress the imbalance. the disappearance of species, and be suggesting strategies to redress the imbalance. Unfortunately, the QPWS seems more focussed on catering to the needs of visitors than preserving native species.

Part of the problem is that the decision-makes on the ground have never seen any commercial value in birds, frogs or ground orchids. Another problem is that new faces, be they rangers, reporters, or visitors, don't see what is lost and disappearing from Fraser Island.

FOOTNOTE: The inspections by the FIDO Executive are not the only basis of FIDO’s advocacy. John Sinclair (Snr) makes several trips apart from the Executive and we are constantly receiving reports from various visitors relating their experiences either as FITs (Free and Independent Travelers) or on commercial tours.

Queensland Election

Ian Matthews

Since MOONBI 98, the Queensland election has come and gone, with the re-election of the Beattie Government. The environment was a major consideration for many voters. Several conservation groups claimed the choice was between a conciliatory approach from Labor, or confrontation from the Coalition. (Labor had reached agreement amongst the timber industry, conservationists and Government over the Regional Forestry Agreement, and agreement with miners, farmers, Aboriginal groups and conservationists on Cape York. The Coalition promised to demolish these agreements.)

The electorate has given the Labor Government a resounding victory. FIDO is hoping to meet with the relevant Ministers as soon as possible. Management of Fraser Island slipped backwards in the first term of the Beattie Government. FIDO will be working hard to ensure that the promises made regarding Fraser Island (and Cooloola) are top priorities for the new Environment Minister, Dean Wells.

Fraser Island Defenders Organization Limited

Notice of Meeting

Notice is hereby given that the Twenty Fourth Annual General Meeting of the Fraser Island Defenders Organization Limited will be held at the Cr. Terry Hampson's Office, North Regional Business Centre, 960 Gympie Road, CHERMSIDE, 6.30 p.m., Wednesday, 8th August, 2001.


1. To receive the Profit and Loss Statement, Balance Sheets and Reports of the Directors and Auditors
2. To elect Directors for the ensuing term in accordance with the Articles of Association.
3. General Business.


Billie A Watts

Honorary Secretary

DATED this 1st day of May, 2001

What you can do to HELP:

FIDO seeks assistance from members, supporters and others who care for Fraser Island to get some action to fix this degrading World Heritage site. These are some basic actions where more support is required:

1. Read and help propagate FIDO's educational supplements. The latest four summarize (a) World Heritage values, (b) values of tourism (c) maintaining the Great Sandy Region's environmental flow and (d) impacts of 4WDs. Appreciate the issues and arguments. Make copies. Advise teachers of the availability of this resource on FIDO's web site ( Additional printed copies are available from FIDO.

2. Write to the Queensland Premier, Peter Beattie, Treasurer, Terry Mackenroth, and new Environment Minister, Dean Wells, urging them to give more financial support to Fraser Island.

3. Write to Federal Environment Minister (Senator Robert Hill) and the Shadow Minister Senator Nick Bolkus) urging that Fraser Island receives a more equitable share of World Heritage funds.

4. Write to the World Heritage Committee (Director, c/- UNESCO, 7 Place de Fontenoy, 75353 PARIS 07 SP France) expressing concern about the deteriorating condition of Fraser Island and the lack of Request that the Committee calls on the State Party (Australia) to honour its obligations under the World Heritage Convention and treat the protection of Fraser Island's World Heritage values with much greater urgency.


This form or a copy of it should be completed and posted to reach Secretary, FIDO, PO Box 70, BALD HILLS QLD 4036, on or before 1 August, 2001 to be valid under Article 31 of the constitution. Please photocopy this form and return it promptly.
Section 248 of the Companies (Queensland) Code provides that all members be given 21 days notice of any meeting (including A.G.M.s) at which they are entitled to vote. It is important that as many proxies as possible are received. The Proxy Form is also taken as your apology for non attendance.

Twenty 24th Annual General Meeting
(please print in BLOCK letters)

I, ......................................................................... of ........................................................................being a financial member of the Fraser Island Defenders Organization Limited do hereby appoint......................................................... or failing him/her ............................................................... as my proxy, to vote on my behalf at the Twenty-second Annual General Meeting, to be held at the at the Cr. Terry Hampson's Office, North Regional Business Centre, 960 Gympie Road, CHERMSIDE, 6.30 p.m., Wednesday, 8 August, 2001, at 6.30 PM. and at any adjournment thereof.

Signed this ........................ day of ....................., 2001