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Queensland Government closes popular areas in national parks
A number of locations in National Parks across Queensland including picnic areas, toilet facilities, lookouts, walking tracks, swimming areas and four-wheel drive beach recreation areas have been closed by the Queensland Government during COVID-19.
This follows the closure of National Park campgrounds last week in response to the Coronavirus outbreak.
Queensland Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef Leeanne Enoch said these targeted closures in Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) managed areas were necessary to help contain the spread of COVID-19 and align with actions already taken by other states and territories.
The closure includes four-wheel drive beach recreation areas like Bribie Island, Teewah Beach and Rainbow Beach and also includes high visitation areas in Springbrook National Park and the Cedar Creek Falls section of Tamborine National Park.
Minister Enoch advised “this is not a decision we have made lightly. We need to ensure the safety of Queenslanders during this time and this decision aligns with the expert medical advice from the state’s Chief Health Officer.
“We have carefully considered the number of people currently accessing National Parks and recreation areas and have taken the decision to close these specific areas which are still attracting a high number of people.”
Minister Enoch said that while the government was trusting Queenslanders to do the right thing, unfortunately some members of the community continue to ignore the public health advice to stay at home and travel only when it’s essential, and are journeying into national parks in substantial numbers.
Minister Enoch added “the Chief Health Officer has made a direction which bans outdoor activities of more than two people, or more than a household.
“Queensland Police now have the option to issue on the spot fines for breaches of the Chief Health Officer’s directions.
“Today’s decision will also help to ensure community wellbeing, as well as protect the health and safety of QPWS rangers including those rangers with close links to high risk indigenous communities, and the general public.”
Increased signage will be in place to inform the public of closures, but locals should check Park Alerts online for the most up-to-date information about closures.
There will be some exemptions for entry into these areas for essential services or work by authorised personnel. A full list of exemptions will be available at parks.des.qld.gov.au
Minister Enoch noted “the message is clear – the more we stay at home and away from other people, the more we save lives and if we need to do more, we will.
“Queenslanders should only be using National Parks and forests which are close to their own home and they should observe all social distancing guidelines. If we continue to see breaches of the Chief Health Officers’ directions, we will be forced to close more park areas.”
The closure of these areas will start to roll out from today (3rd April 2020).
A full list of closures is available at www.des.qld.gov.au
Image of Bribie Island courtesy of Events and Tourism Queensland
2nd April 2020 - NSW Coronavirus lockdown to last 90 days
12th December 2018 - Queensland National Parks start reopening in aftermath of bushfires
28th November 2018 - Queensland National Parks receive 6.4 million visits in year to March
13th January 2014 - Queensland national park ecotourism proposals move to next stage
3rd December 2009 - Accommodation Plans for Queensland National Parks
28th October 2009 - Joint Management for Far North Queensland National Park
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