Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch has fast tracked an action plan to immediately improve dingo safety on K’gari (Fraser Island).
It follows the terrifying experience of a family whose 14 month old boy was dragged from a campervan.
“Our thoughts are with the little boy and his family who have been through this tragic ordeal,” the Minister said.
The action plan starts with boosting ranger numbers by 50% over the remaining Easter and Anzac Day holiday periods and increasing face to face conversations with visitors.
“The extra rangers will ensure all visitors to the island are remaining vigilant and following the dingo safe messaging,” Minister Enoch said.
“The Implementation Plan was due to be reviewed later in the year, but I have asked the Department of Environment and Science to review it as a matter of urgency.
“It is time to analyse the dingo risk management implementation plan to determine if more work needs to be done to improve visitor safety.
“The continued safety of visitors to K’gari is a priority, and we want to ensure all the actions the Government undertakes in relation to dingoes is based on the best available science and advice.”
The Implementation Plan outlines the action behind the Fraser Island Dingo Conservation and Risk Management Strategy, which was prepared with expert input and implemented by a team guided by qualified scientists.
The Implementation Plan outlines the on-ground actions to: reduce negative interactions between dingoes and people; promote communication and education, ensure people comply with the rules (such as not feeding dingoes), and assess of all of these measures.
“The management of dingoes on K’gari is complex, and the Government is committed to supporting a sustainable and healthy dingo population, while minimising the risks to human safety and dingo welfare,” Ms Enoch said.
“The review is also a good opportunity to explore ways to improve our partnership with K’gari’s Traditional Owners and increase their involvement in dingo management.
“The Government is committed to continue working with the Butchulla People Traditional Owners on K’Gari in a cooperative management arrangement to manage the iconic natural and cultural values of the island.
“Last year we announced four new funded positions for Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation as part of the Queensland Indigenous Land and Sea Ranger program.
“We know education and compliance is a major factor in keeping visitors safe on the island, and rangers need to work closely with Traditional Owners - Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation - to ensure all visitors and residents on K’gari are dingo-safe.
“This includes regular education and speaking to campers, tourists, resort management and staff about reducing the risk of negative interactions between dingos and people.
“The review of the Implementation Plan will also look at whether any improvements can be made to messaging around dingo safety to ensure visitors and dingoes can co-exist harmoniously on K’gari.
“With up to 400,000 visitors to K’gari every year, it is important we continually refine our communication strategy to ensure everyone’s safety.”
Rangers continuously patrol areas on K’gari, and step-up their presence during holiday periods, such as the Easter long weekend.
Following Thursday night’s incident, rangers have been visiting campsites to speak to visitors about remaining vigilant and ensuring people are following messaging about being dingo safe.
People are encouraged to report any negative dingo encounters to a QPWS ranger or to phone 07 4127 9150 or email email@example.com as soon as possible.
Visitors to Fraser Island are reminded to be dingo safe at all times:
- Always stay close (within arm’s reach) of children and young teenagers
- Always walk in groups
- Camp in fenced areas where possible
- Do not run. Running or jogging can trigger a negative dingo interaction
- Never feed dingoes
- Lock up food stores and iceboxes (even on a boat)
- Never store food or food containers in tents, and
- Secure all rubbish, fish and bait
For more information go to https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/parks/fraser/fraser-island-dingoes
Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for the Arts
The Honourable Leeanne Enoch