Environmentalists say a Queensland government supported zipline in a national park designed to boost ecotourism could hurt koala populations.
Koala populations in Queensland could be threatened by an adventure ride proposed to boost tourism in a Queensland national park.
Environmentalists say trees that will support the cable based zipline planned for Obi Obi Gorge in Kondilla National Park, in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, are koala habitats.
National Parks Association of Queensland executive coordinator Paul Donatiu says building steel platforms, required to suspend the adventure ride, and the clearing of vegetation for the cables would harm the habitat and rare bird species as well.
“This government is ignoring its duty of care to conserve rare species in our national parks, including koalas, in the name of adrenaline tourism,” Mr Donatiu said.
The warning comes as Queensland’s tourism minister, Jann Stuckey, announced the Australian Zip Line Canopy Tours had been named the project’s preferred proponent.
“The hinterland business community recognises that a zipline attraction would draw more visitors and revitalise the region, which would have flow on economic benefits to the broader community,” she said on Thursday.
However, Mr Donatiu said the zipline, which would be a first for any Australian national park, would attract the wrong kind of visitor.
“A key aspect of ecotourism is that the tourism activity leads, or adds to the conservation of the ecosystem in which it operates,” he said.
“The inclusion of an environmental educational component in the proposed zipline will do little for the National Park itself, particularly as research overseas shows a strong indication that tour guests are impatient for the thrill of the ride.”
Australian Zip Line Canopy Tours have been invited to submit a more detailed proposal to show environmental checks have been incorporated into the planning, design and operation of the project and explain its financial benefits.