Jennifer Parkhurst breaks Queensland law by photographing a dingo without written permission from the State Government.
Jennifer Parkhurst breaks Queensland law by photographing a dingo without written permission from the State Government. Submitted

Dingo snapper faces $300k fine

THE Queensland Government has been accused of using Bjelke-Petersen-style intimidation tactics to shut down opposition to its Fraser Island dingo management policies.

Shadow Sustainability Minister Glen Elmes yesterday blasted the announcement that Rainbow Beach photographer Jennifer Parkhurst will face more than 40 charges of alleged interaction with dingoes, with penalties of up to two years jail and a $300,000 fine.

“It’s the same penalty faced by the person who shot that baby koala, if they are ever caught. And Jennifer Parkhurst didn’t kill anything.

“It’s officers of the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service that are killing the dingoes and hazing them by shooting them with shanghais. If you or I treated a domestic dog like that, we’d be prosecuted by the police or the RSPCA or both.

“This reminds me of the sort of thing that used to happen in Queensland many years ago. If you want to shut the opposition up, charge them with something,” he said.

Despite government claims that people feeding dingoes are responsible for an increased incidence of attacks, including one fatality, Mr Elmes said it was much more likely that government policies were to blame.

“There were no attacks and no problems when Forestry ran Fraser Island and people fed dingoes all the time.

“I’ve spoken to the indigenous people of the area and looked at the photographic and other evidence. Dingoes are camp following dogs. They have been interacting with humans for 5000 years.

“If anyone should be up on charges it is the State Government and the Minister,” Mr Elmes said.

IN a media tactic also reminiscent of the Bjelke-Petersen era (and strongly criticised in the Fitzgerald corruption inquiry report) the administration of the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) announced the charges selectively on Monday afternoon to relatively compliant news organisations.

It was withheld from The Gympie Times, which has taken a more independent line on DERM issues affecting Rainbow Beach, until after our publication deadline on Monday evening.

DERM director-general John Bradley said his officers had raided Ms Parkhurst’s Rainbow Beach unit in August and seized a large quantity of video and other evidence and conducted a lengthy and thorough investigation.

Gympie MP David Gibson said: “It just disgusts me. It’s that bully boy mentality.

“Jennifer Parkhurst faces the full force of the law from DERM because she’s exposed the fact that the government’s dingo management policies aren’t working,” he said.

Ms Parkhurst accurately predicted last year that DERM officers would accuse her of making the dingoes dangerous and blame her for their near extermination, currently being carried out in the name of public safety.

Victorian Parkhurst supporter Julie Fechner said she and others had fed dingoes for years and it had never made them dangerous. “I just marched in an Australia Day parade with my pet dingoes and they weren’t dangerous at all,” she said.

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