Plan to keep 4WD beach open for Easter ‘irresponsible’
A DECISION to keep Bribie Island's 4WD beach open to the public over Easter has been slammed by the local MP. who has made an urgent call today for the decision to be reconsidered.
Pumicestone LNP MP Simone Wilson along with Bribie Island residents wrote to Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch over the past week asking for 4WD access to Ocean Beach to be shut to protect the largely elderly population on the island from the spread of coronavirus.
In a statement this morning Ms Wilson said Minister Enoch had responded to her request by putting "their heads in the sand".
"I wrote to the Premier and Minister for Environment on 26 March urging them to close Bribie Island's recreation areas and Ocean Beach 4WD access as an immediate measure to contain the spread of coronavirus," Ms Wilson said.
"Ocean Beach access to 4WD day trippers should have been part of the COVID-19 shutdown but the State Government thinks it's OK to leave it open to the masses who may potentially flock here over the Easter break."
"The State Labor Government has their heads in the sand on their decision to keep Bribie Island's 4WD beach open."
Ms Wilson said the State Government had banned recreational boaters from the water unless they were fishing locally for food or essential travel but planned to "keep a very popular beach open for day trippers to use".
"Show me any right minded person who would class a day trip to Ocean Beach as essential travel during this pandemic," Ms Wilson said.
"There is a very good argument to close Bribie 4WD beach access but the State Labor Government has rejected my call and in doing so failed to protect Queensland's oldest neighbourhood."
"The State Labor Government are rolling the dice that day trippers will adhere to the two persons public gathering rule. All this does is put the onus on law enforcement to police this and that's unfair."
Ms Wilson said the decision to abandon "my community at this very worrying time is contemptible".
Ms Wilson said she would again write to the Minister to urge them to reconsider the decision.
The Weekly contacted Minister Enoch's office on Monday to ask if the beach would be closed but had still not received a response at the time of publishing.
In a letter to Ms Wilson, shared with the Weekly, Minister Enoch said the "Queensland Chief Health Officer (CHO) has made a direction which bans outdoor activities of more than two people, unless from the same household".
"Queensland police now have the option to issue on the spot fines for breaches of those directions," the letter said.
"In addition to the CHO directions, on 25 March 2020 the Queensland Government announced the unprecedented measure of closing all of Queensland's protected area estate camping areas including on Bribie Island, as a measure to contain the spread of COVID 19."
Ms Enoch said in the letter: "I appreciate your insight into the likely consequence of leaving access open to Bribie Island's beaches and recreation area".
"I am working with the Department of Environment and science to monitor current access and use arrangements, and assess any potential risks at our parks, forests and recreation areas including Bribie Island," the letter said.
"The continued safety and wellbeing of all Queenslanders remains the Government's highest priority and will determine any future decision about access to Bribie Island's recreation area. Any further restrictions will be well communicated with residents and the public."
Should Bribie Island's Ocean Beach be closed for Easter due to coronavirus?
This poll ended on 11 April 2020.
No, leave it open.
I'm not sure.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
Originally published as Plan to keep 4WD beach open for Easter 'irresponsible'