STAY SAFE: Fraser Island rangers delivering dingo-safe messaging to campers.
STAY SAFE: Fraser Island rangers delivering dingo-safe messaging to campers. Contributed

BUTCHULLA: 'Govt keeping us at arm's length on dingo policy'

THE Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation has accused the State Government of keeping the traditional owners at arm's length when it comes to dingo management on Fraser Island.

The comments came after a 14-month-old boy was snatched from a camper trailer by a dingo while camping with his family on the island just after midnight on Good Friday.

The boy suffered puncture wounds and skull fractures.

A statement from the group said it appeared the current education campaign about Wongari (dingo) safety was simply not working.

"We would like to remind people that our traditional homeland is a pristine wilderness which has dangerous animals that could harm your loved ones," the statement read.

"Unfortunately, there has already been three incidents this year, which potentially could have been avoided.

"It is time that people are more accountable for the actions - Wongaris should not be sacrificed for human error or inciting interaction."

The statement said because the corporation hadn't been extensively involved in the government's Dingo Conservation and Risk Management Strategy on K'gari and its associated awareness campaigns, the traditional owners had little control over the circumstances of dingoes on the island, "particularly, the influence mismanagement has on their behaviour and the lack of general awareness by some visitors".

The group extended its sympathy to the family involved in the traumatic incident, but said it was time people were more accountable for their actions.

"Wongaris should not be sacrificed for human error or inciting interaction," the statement read.

"We call on the government to put in place joint management arrangements for the island with the BAC so Butchulla people can pro-actively assist government with on-ground management of issues, such as visitor education and safety."

A spokesman from the Department of Environment and Science said the Queensland Government was committed to continuing to work with the Butchulla people "in a cooperative management arrangement to manage the iconic natural and cultural values of the island".

"We respect the importance of Wongari (dingo) to the Butchulla People and the important ecological and cultural role they play in Butchulla country," he said

"Last year we announced four new funded positions for Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation as part of the Queensland Indigenous Land and Sea Ranger program.

"DES recognises education and compliance is a major factor in keeping visitors safe on the island, and rangers work closely with traditional owners - Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation to ensure all visitors and residents on K'gari are dingo-safe."



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