Fury over Inskip campsite bungle
LOCAL businesses and residents are fuming over the State Government's handling of campsite reopening and the "ridiculous" number of visitors allowed at Inskip Point.
After announcing camping restrictions were easing early, the Department of Environment and Science did not tell visitors that they would be capping visitors at 20 and they would need two permits to access the sites.
Gympie MP Tony Perrett said tourists were flocking to Inskip Point on Monday only to be told that they couldn't enter the sites.
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It was only on Tuesday, a day after people were allowed to visit campsites, that the booking system was updated to inform visitors that the Cooloola Recreation Area was still restricted and permits were needed.
"People were told on the weekend to travel intrastate and that camping had resumed," Mr Perrett said.
"On Monday, I advised the Environment Minister's office that tourists were arriving to be met with barrier tape and told to go back home. Some had travelled for three hours.
"By Tuesday, the advice was that camping is available, but it was capped, and that visitors must have two different permits."
Mr Perrett said the capped camping numbers would seriously damage the local economy which relies on the tourist market.
"It appears that there's no real intention to lift camping and beach driving restrictions at the Cooloola Coast including the Cooloola Recreation Area, Teewah Beach and Inskip Point Recreation Area," he said. "I have been inundated with calls from residents and business owner's angry that the cap is actually for 20 people when the area can cater for 2300 people."
One of these people was Cooloola Coast Beach Traders owner Martine Lokan who said it was ridiculous to limit a 15km stretch to only 20 visitors.
"They should cap the numbers realistically at 20 or 50 per cent of the capacity in this lead up to school holidays, not 20 people," she said.
"It's a knee-jerk reaction from the Premier without consulting the right authorities or people on the ground."
Ms Lokan said there was a lack of clarity on the restrictions even among park rangers, who told her "they weren't fully aware of what's going on."
The Department of Environment and Science website explains what the restrictions will be from June 27 but a spokesperson said they were still waiting on the official restrictions for until then "to be passed down".
As of Wednesday afternoon the Department's web page for Inskip Point did not state there was a 20 person cap, however the Queensland National Parks Booking Service showed there was one.