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May 2019


Australia Zoo sign

'They're building a business at ratepayers' expense'

Blue over zoo's $3m govt grant

By Dennis Amor
Have your say

CARAVAN parks are fuming over a Queensland Government decision to pour $3 million into Australia Zoo's planned caravan park and camping ground.

The handout from the Growing Tourism Infrastructure Fund will go towards building the 108-site Camp Croc Hunter, which will offer everything from tent accommodation to caravan and RV powered sites.

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said the $8 million facility at the world famous zoo in Beerwah in the Sunshine Coast hinterland would be a magnet for 39,000 additional visitors annually, injecting another $4.5 million into the local economy.

But the news has left local caravan park operators dumbfounded, describing the multi-million dollar grant as a "slap in the face".

"This is absolutely disgusting and I intend contacting Kate Jones to express my discontent and displeasure and also ask for a $3 million grant," one disgruntled owner, who requested anonymity, told Caravanning News.

"They're building a business at ratepayers' expense. It just sucks," he said.

"Australia Zoo is a private enterprise company and there's no reason for a taxpayer-provided subsidy."

'Drastic fall in commission for selling zoo tickets'

He claimed the zoo was also responsible for a drastic fall in his commission for ticket sales.

"We used to sell them for Australia Zoo but it has now done a deal with a motorhome organisation," he explained.

"But where they used to allow us a 10 percent commission they give them 25 percent discount so obviously no one is going to buy them off us. Our ticket sales have dropped drastically."

Caravanning News' Facebook page ran hot when it first broke news of the controversial plan, reaching over 65,000 people and chalking up nearly 400 reactions, 114 shares and 54 comments.

"I am sure that Steve, God rest his soul, would have much preferred to see it expand for the protection and education of wildlife and not for a campground," caravanner Michael Shailer said.

Australia Zoo's Dr Terri Irwin said the Queensland  Government’s grant would be a great boost for State's tourism industry.

“Our tourism partnership with the Queensland Government will enable Australia Zoo to employ more people in the Sunshine Coast region, encourage visitors to stay longer and increase spending within our community which is fantastic for our local economy," she added.

Ms Jones believed that while the coast was known for its beaches and other major attractions, the new campground would give domestic and international tourists another reason to visit the region.

"That's why we need to support the local tourism industry," he said.

"There’s another 4000 jobs on the Sunshine Coast compared to a year ago. We want to create even more jobs.

"Australia Zoo expects the project will support up to 33 construction jobs and 43 operational jobs.

"It will also have a flow-on effect to boost the local tourism industry."


 No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted without
the prior written permission of Dennis Amor.

Copyright 2005 Dennis Amor
All Rights Reserved

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