Hinchinbrook MP, Andrew Cripps, says the Palaszczuk Government has an opportunity to boost tourism and create jobs in the Townsville region by reducing red tape associated with local island management plans, such as Orpheus and Hinchinbrook Island.
Mr Cripps said the SeaLink Travel Group had expressed interest in enhancing its local island cruise tourism products using Yanks Jetty, but was constrained by a 50 passenger limit under the provisions of the current Orpheus Island Management Plan.
“To the credit of the Hinchinbrook Shire Council, it has recently completed a major restoration of Yanks Jetty on Orpheus Island, so this tourism proposal by SeaLink comes at a good time to enhance the experience of visitors to our region” said Mr Cripps.
“An amendment to the Queensland Government’s Orpheus Island Management Plan would cost nothing, but would remove some red tape that has been identified by an existing operator as holding back the development of new tourism products” he said.
Mr Cripps said increasing tourism in the Townsville region was one of the five points identified by the Palaszczuk Government to create jobs in response to the redundancies and the voluntary administration at the Yabulu Nickel Refinery.
“Regrettably, the Palaszczuk Government has failed to act on representations I made to the Environment Minister in September 2015, to make amendments to the Hinchinbrook Island Management Plan to provide greater access for tourism”.
“There are good tourism operators in the Hinchinbrook Shire and the Cassowary Coast Region that could benefit from more flexibility in the Hinchinbrook Island Management Plan which could boost our tourism industry and create new jobs”.
“I’ll be following up the lack of progress on Hinchinbrook Island, but I’m confident that sensible changes can be made to these management plans without adversely impacting on the natural environment, which is the foundation of these tourism products”.
Mr Cripps said he had written to the Premier, the Environment Minister and the Tourism Minister to support the SeaLink proposal and representations by the Hinchinbrook Shire Council seeking an amendment to the Orpheus Island Management Plan.