Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) Deputy Leader and Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto has slammed the State Government for its delay with visitor infrastructure upgrades at Australia’s highest single-drop waterfall, Wallaman Falls.
In the Queensland Budget 2020-2021, the Townsville region was allocated $600,000 in 21/22 out of $2m total spend to upgrade visitor infrastructure at Wallaman Falls, Girringun National Park.
Following Mr Dametto’s request for an update on the project, the Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef confirmed that consultation will be held over the coming months and a number of options are being considered.
Mr Dametto said this was another example of the state government dragging its feet with a project that has the opportunity to reignite tourism in the Hinchinbrook electorate.
“I can’t believe we are more than halfway into the financial year and the Department is still planning for consultation,” he said.
Minister Scanlon stated that key consultation stakeholders include the Wet Tropics Management Authority, First Nations representatives and commercial operators.
“It seems that consultation will just be another ‘tick and flick’ for the Department; they are failing to engage with the most important stakeholders, the wider Hinchinbrook community and our tourists,” Mr Dametto said.
Minister Scanlon advised that concept plans have been produced to scope out upgrades to the Wallaman Falls campground, the main lookout and day use area and Wallaman Falls walking trail and bottom lookout areas.
Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, camping and vehicle permits show that in 2021 there were 6,037 people that camped at Wallaman Falls, in comparison to 4,221 people in 2019.
“The visitor statistics show a clear increase in visitation to Wallaman Falls, and this data does not include day-trippers, which is difficult data to capture,” Mr Dametto said.
“The statistics also indicate that since the COVID-19 pandemic Queenslanders are choosing to explore our natural assets such as National Parks.
“I guarantee if Australia’s highest single-drop waterfall was located in south east Queensland, the State would have invested in visitor infrastructure and major upgrades a long time ago.
“Wallaman Falls has the potential to create new business opportunities, increase visitation, support local businesses, and stimulate economic growth. All it needs is the state to get a move on and make it happen.”
The Hinchinbrook MP looks forward to meeting with the Minister and Ministerial representatives to ensure the project is expedited.