Burnett tracks still open, despite park closures
IF YOU thought going to a nice lookout, walking track or picnic area was a good 'social distancing' alternative to going out to a cafe, think again.
The Palaszczuk Government announced the closure of a number of picnic areas, toilet facilities, lookouts, popular walking tracks and swimming areas in national parks across Queensland.
This came into effect on Friday after the national park campgrounds were closed the week before in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Queenslanders are being urged to only use national parks and forests which were close to their own home and to observe all social distancing guidelines.
Most walking tracks and recreational trails in the Burnett region remain open for exercise, however, people are urged to avoid 'high use area touch points' such as lookout handrails, seating and picnic tables.
At this point the Bunya Mountains walking tracks remain open, except the Bunya Bunya walking track and a partial closure of the scenic circuit walking track due to maintenance works.
The Palms National Park at Cooyar and the Boat Mountain Conservation Park near Murgon remain open.
In the North Burnett, Cania Gorge National Park north of Monto and Mount Walsh near Biggenden, also have no current closure alerts.
This comes after the South Burnett Regional Council announced the closure of a number of parks, picnic areas, walking tracks and other public amenities across the region.
These include the popular Boondoomba Dam, Kapernick Park, Ficks Crossing, Bjelke-Petersen Dam, Tingoora Recreation Reserve, Gordonbrook Dam, Coomba Falls and Jessie's Well at Benarkin.
The Kingaroy Skate Park has also been closed.
However, the South Burnett Rail Trail remains open for locals to exercise.
Environment minister Leanne Enoch said the decision to close the parks was made to ensure the safety of Queenslanders during this time.
"We have carefully considered the number of people currently accessing national parks and recreation areas and have taken the decision to close these specific areas which are still attracting a high number of people," she said.
While most Queenslanders were doing the right thing, some members of the community journeyed into national parks in substantial numbers.
"The Chief Health Officer has made a direction which bans outdoor activities of more than two people, or more than a household," Ms Enoch said.
"Queensland Police now have the option to issue on the spot fines for breaches of the Chief Health Officer's directions."
Ms Enoch said if there were further breaches of the Chief Health Officers' directions, they would be forced to close more park areas.
"The message is clear -the more we stay at home and away from other people, the more we save lives and if we need to do more, we will," she said.