Visitors to the Cooloola region are being reminded to obey the rules and get the correct permits or risk being fined
(Photo: Department of Environment)

September 14, 2020

Weekend warriors heading to the coast are being urged to plan ahead by obtaining the correct permits and to behave responsibly after 32 Penalty Infringement Notices were issued in the Cooloola region during the past week.

A Department of Environment spokesperson said Queensland’s recreation areas were experiencing higher-than-normal visitor and camper numbers over recent months and this trend was expected to continue into the upcoming school holidays.

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service rangers regularly patrol the Cooloola Recreation Area, which includes Teewah Beach campground.

Senior Ranger Col Lawton said rangers had to move on more than 10 visitors who had a valid vehicle access pass (VAP) but did not have a COVID-19 Restricted Access Area Authority (RAAA) for the duration of their visit.

“During their patrols, rangers found evidence that visitors had freshly cut some tree branches in the camping area to allow access for large caravans,” Mr Lawnton said.

“It is an offence in recreation areas to remove branches from trees or collect fallen branches for firewood in Queensland national parks, and people can be issued with a Penalty Infringement Notice (PIN).

“Rangers are also concentrating on driving offences and can issue PINs for offences such as unregistered vehicles, driving without a licence, not wearing seat belts and driving without due care and attention.”

Recent PINs were issued for:

  • Two $133 PINs for taking dogs into a recreation area
  • Two $266 PINs for driving on dunes
  • One $133 PIN for interfering with a natural resource by collecting bush wood
  • Two $133 PIN for collecting bush wood for a fire
  • 13 $200 PINs for not having a vehicle access permit
  • Five $133 PINs for not having a camping permit
  • Five $266 PIN for driving without due care and attention (swerving a vehicle from side to side)
  • One $299 PIN for having a passenger outside a vehicle
  • One $400 PIN for failure to comply with a regulatory notice health and safety

The Department reminded all day-use visitors to make sure they have a Vehicle Access Permit and a Restricted Access Area Authority before heading to the popular recreation areas.

During COVID-19 restrictions, limits have been in placed on the number of people and vehicles able to visit the Bribie Island and Cooloola recreation areas.

Cooloola and Bribie’s 4WD drive beaches are restricted access areas under Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service’s approved COVID Safe Industry Plan.

A person can only enter these restricted areas when they hold both an authority to enter the restricted access area and a valid Vehicle Access Permit.

Restricted Access Area Authorities are free however are required in addition to a Vehicle Access Permit. The RAAA must be obtained to reserve the visit and avoid being turned around at the gate or risk a fine.

There is a limited number of RAAAs available with the number capped at 500 per day.

RAAAs are single day-use only and visitors will need a valid RAAA for each day.

Even existing vehicle permit holders with an annual pass still require an RAAA for the days they intend to visit these recreation areas, however permit exemption holders and those with valid camping permits are unaffected and do not need to secure an additional RAAA.

Instructions on how to obtain the necessary permits are available online

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