Dametto calls for review of Hinchinbrook Island National Park Management Plan 2017
15 September 2023
Hinchinbrook MP and Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) Deputy Leader, Nick Dametto is calling for a full review of the Hinchinbrook Island National Park Management Plan 2017 to improve management and encourage economic growth in the region.
The Hinchinbrook Island National Park Management Plan 2017 (Management Plan) guides the management of the area. It provides a structure for strategic planning, monitoring, and evaluating performance, and reporting on the effectiveness of management actions over time.
The Hinchinbrook MP stated that the Management Plan should be reviewed every 5 to 10 years and it is clear that the current plan is outdated.
Mr Dametto is advocating for those who believe that the current Management Plan fails to address the issues with the Island’s booking system and to better support tourism operators and increase local economic growth.
“The 2023-24 State Budget allocated $1.5 million to upgrade and build new nature-based experiences and facilities along Hinchinbrook Island’s Thorsborne Trail. The upgrades will hopefully increase island visitation, which means we must act to resolve the current issues that tourist operators and visitors are experiencing with the current booking system,” he said.
“In some cases, visitors have to wait up to six months to hike the Thorsborne Trail due to the lack of availability with permits being capped at 40 per night. It is my understanding that the lack of availability isn’t always a result of there being 40 persons camping on the Island each night, it’s due to people not cancelling their booking when their travel plans change.
“Bookings to camp on the Thorsborne Trail are made via the Queensland National Parks website, fees are $7.25 per person/night or $29.00 per family/night.
“It’s been said, that the low-cost camping fees could be attributing to the issue of people not cancelling their bookings. I’m not interested in increasing the Queensland National Parks fees for the trail however, I do think that the booking system for the Thorsborne Trail needs to be reviewed in order to increase visitor numbers.
“The Department of Environment and Science has a responsibility to get this right, this could well mean creating a separate booking system for Hinchinbrook Island that is managed by our local tourist operators or the Hinchinbrook Visitor Information Centre.
“The Thorsborne Trail is one of the world’s top 10 walks and we have hikers that are missing out on the opportunity which then affects our small businesses and hinders the growth of our tourism sector.”
The Hinchinbrook MP said he recently met with ministerial and departmental staff and stressed that this problem must progress past just talking.
“We must move swiftly to improve the visitor experience for those visiting the Island or camping on the Thorsborne Trail and this could only be achieved by a full review of the Hinchinbrook Island Management Plan,” Mr Dametto said.