building a business at ratepayers' expense'
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
"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
"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
fall in commission for selling zoo tickets'
He claimed the zoo was also responsible
for a drastic fall in his commission for ticket
"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
“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,"
"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."