Reserving spots on Queensland National Parks

Submitted: Tuesday, Jan 17, 2017 at 21:40
ThreadID: 134128 Views:3950 Replies:18 FollowUps:30
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Started planning for the next trip north and rang the Queensland NP booking number. Apparently they still don't have numbered sites in the Diamentina NP. Booked two sites there two years ago and turned up with no vacant sites. I asked the lady on the phone what should we do if it happens again and she said see the rangers (two hours away and not even there when we left the Park) or ask the people who had camped there to show us their camping receipt. Fat lot of good that would have done.
Any suggestions besides not going to Queensland which is looking more likely?
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Reply By: Member - Wildmax - Tuesday, Jan 17, 2017 at 22:26

Tuesday, Jan 17, 2017 at 22:26
Good luck with this...........Qld has the most ridiculous national park booking system in the country. As you said, a big ask trying to kick someone else out of a site you have booked.
With the distances involved in some areas (eg, Cape York), how is it possible to even know what day/s you will need to book in certain parks, let alone knowing what the camping areas are like.
We had the stupid experience one year of booking six sites for six vehicles in our group at one of the Cape sites, only to get there and find that all six of us could have fitted on one of our big sites, while other travellers had booked only one site and found it was not even big enough for their one vehicle. Sorted it out with a bit of co-operation, but it really is a shambles at peak times.
Wrote to the (previous) Premier of the day to complain about it a couple of years ago (encouraged to do so by disgruntled rangers who had to cope with the mess), but of course got only the usual do-nothing platitudes politicians specialise in.
My tip is to try to book in advance what you think you will need, but be prepared for some (hopefully friendly) negotiation when you get there.
Fingers crossed !!
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Follow Up By: Member - Trevor - Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 06:30

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 06:30
If you could book a site with at least a number on it you would know who was in your site instead of having to go from site to site being a Ranger and asking to see their booking slip.
I don't think their system gives you the right to ask anyone for their booking receipt other than having it displayed on the dash.
Pretty slack system
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Follow Up By: Member - nick b - Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 08:53

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 08:53
Wildmax you are spot on with comments
we booked where we could when doing the cape using public ph & mobile when had coverage .
The whole problem is these not enough camps & there to far apart .
just got to find your own spot but that's most likely no illegal .
Cheers Nick b
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Follow Up By: Deejay - Saturday, Jan 21, 2017 at 23:29

Saturday, Jan 21, 2017 at 23:29
I think you're all wrong. Queensland is the 'Smart' state!
It says so on our number plates.
Not bl**^y likely.
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Reply By: Idler Chris - Tuesday, Jan 17, 2017 at 23:23

Tuesday, Jan 17, 2017 at 23:23
Have not been to Qld for 5 years now because of their stupid booking system. It is just a shambles.
However this year I have decided that I will go to Qld. I flatly refuse to pay for something where there is no guarantee that you will get what you paid for, or that if you do get it, that it is suitable for my setup, or pay for something that I may use. The trouble you have to go to, to get a refund if not used, takes just so much time that its not worth the trouble.
I do not make up my mind where I might camp until I have seen it. Period.
What I am going to do is go to camp sites that maybe of interest to me, If I see a site that interests me I will occupy it. I have a trayback camper so setup time is fairly quick. If I have phone coverage I will try and book the site. If unsuccessfull, I won't make full camp setup until about five. If someone comes after that we will negotiate and if I have to move, I will, just to keep the peace. When I leave and get mobile coverage I will make the booking and pay the required fees.
This way I am only paying for what I use. If a ranger turns up, and I hope they do, I am fairly confident in my ability to sweet talk him. Remember the rangers do not like the system either.
If you or I set up a business where we charged people for a service that may not be delivered, and if it is, that it is suitable with your setup, with no refunds, the ACCC would have us in Court with in the blink of an eye.
The bottom line here is their system grossly unfair, if not illegal, and that if it was to be challenged in Court I would expect them to lose.
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Follow Up By: Member - Trevor - Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 06:32

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 06:32
If you could book a site with at least a number on it you would know who was in your site instead of having to go from site to site being a Ranger and asking to see their booking slip.
I don't think their system gives you the right to ask anyone for their booking receipt other than having it displayed on the dash.
Pretty slack system
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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 08:33

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 08:33
Same same here Chris.

Phil
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Follow Up By: Member - Blue M - Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 14:15

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 14:15
Chris, there is a lot more to see in Qld than a few badly run National Parks.

Cheers
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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 14:26

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 14:26
There may well be but if you arrive at a remote place and the spot is taken and the next area is a few hundred K's away, it' not funny. Personalll, and Chris and I have chatted over it, they can stick it.

Sorry but we have been bitten more than once and at 5PM what do you do. Pull over and sleep illegally (not a good idea) and then try to resurrect a broken holiday. Been there and back. There are plenty of more places to go in the other states.

Phil
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Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 23:01

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 23:01
Of course there is more to see than the NP's. But why go to Qld if you are going to avoid all the NP's. I am going enjoy myself a lot more going to other parts of OZ where NP's can be enjoyed.
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Reply By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Tuesday, Jan 17, 2017 at 23:24

Tuesday, Jan 17, 2017 at 23:24
My experience of QNP at Lawn Hill (fwiw):

Q-NP's website advised to book ahead to 'guarantee' a spot. Rang from Longreach about 4 days in advance, booked and paid for 2 spots for 2 nights.
We knew we'd be coming in after a long drove (came up from around Dajarra / Duchess) and lobbed in very tired around 3-4pm at least feeling secure in knowledge that we'd booked well in advance from Longreach. At that stage we weren't in the position to go somewhere else.

turn up at the anointed time and find the campsite full with opportunists and no bloody ranger present..

driving around the camp-site 6 times and banging on the door of the ranger station 3 times ... we gave up and wound up driving on to the tent area and set up.

A number of other campers came up and protested vigorously that we couldn't park there ... "fine" we said "then show us your camping pass to prove you're not in our spot ..... we've got one..." - funny thing - they all skulked off and left us alone after that.

Seems like it was being run on a 1st in basis - total effing shambles.... we booked a week in advance over the phone and paid over the phone for 2 nights.
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Follow Up By: Member - Trevor - Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 06:35

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 06:35
If you could book a site with at least a number on it you would know who was in your site instead of having to go from site to site being a Ranger and asking to see their booking slip.
I don't think their system gives you the right to ask anyone for their booking receipt other than having it displayed on the dash.
Pretty slack system
The last time we were at Lawn Hill they had a board on display with the site number and our name on it. I think it may have been developed by the ranger to keep the peace
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Follow Up By: Member - nick b - Sunday, Jan 22, 2017 at 10:49

Sunday, Jan 22, 2017 at 10:49
Scott : similarly we camped 70k's N`W of Coen in NP NO numbering system book at spot . them had a another camper insisted on seeing our booking , he was claiming we had his spot ..... NOT very happy chap ....lol

There are some lovely spot up that way but in my opinion there not enough GOOD camps to go round .
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Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Sunday, Jan 22, 2017 at 11:51

Sunday, Jan 22, 2017 at 11:51
Problem was Nick, you get a booking number over the phone, however that's not linked to specific site. So if there's no ranger present, you have no way of knowing which site is yours (assuming QNP just aren't overbooking for the sake of it).

We attempted to ask a few campers if they had a booking to be just told to 'naff off'.

The whole system is a total cluster-****.
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Reply By: Member - Ian C26 - Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 00:08

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 00:08
Come over here to W.A, we don't have those problems.
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Follow Up By: Member - Trevor - Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 06:36

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 06:36
We take the caravan over once a year as we have family over there. Long trip but worth it.
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Follow Up By: Top End Az - Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 16:26

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 16:26
We had that problem in the Bungle Bungles. Drove 800km from Broome to find a sign out the front saying you need to book online. We'd spent 5 weeks in the Kimberley and hadn't needed to book anywhere else. So perhaps our fault but still annoying none the less.
Got online with 1 bar of reception to find all the spots were full. Called the Ranger the next morning and she said all the spots were vacant and couldn't understand why no one was out there camping in the middle of July. I referred her back to their website.

Queensland: We have tried the system in Qld and gave up in the end. There is no point in having a booking system if it's not going to be monitored or enforced. It's a case of the government wanting their cake and eating it too (ie collecting the $$ but not wanting to pay staff to do so).

First in first served with a donation is the best system. In a big state like Qld how can you predict where you will be in a few days time? The other alternative system is to manually book at a Visitor Information Centre and get a "Sticker/permit/whatever" for your vehicle and tent so you can identify the blow ins and those who booked. At least at the Visitor centre you could view possible sites, space requirements etc

We ended up camping in caravan parks and day tripped around (obviously can't do this up at the Cape) and as a result missed out on some of the parks we wanted to see. Haven't been back to Qld since.
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Follow Up By: Member - ACD 1 - Friday, Jan 20, 2017 at 16:56

Friday, Jan 20, 2017 at 16:56
Unfortunately we do have those problems in WA...

Both with pre booking campsites and inconsiderates camping on your booked spot.

This is the DPAW site you need to use to book.

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Reply By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 05:29

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 05:29
Trevor
Been to Diamantina a couple of times, last time there last July.
Surprised you say there were no vacant sites as the main Hunter's Lagoon site is very big.
Problem with that Park is that there is only one Ranger on site (or was last year) and if he is away elsewhere on the > 1 Million Ha Park or the other "nearby" 400 000Ha park. The rasngers partner isn't actually employed by the Government if he's away.
Rangers also hate that system as they aren't employed to be Traffic cops
Mark
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Reply By: Member - Trevor - Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 06:37

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 06:37
If you could book a site with at least a number on it you would know who was in your site instead of having to go from site to site being a Ranger and asking to see their booking slip.
I don't think their system gives you the right to ask anyone for their booking receipt other than having it displayed on the dash.
Pretty slack system
The last time we were at Lawn Hill they had a board on display with the site number and our name on it. I think it may have been developed by the ranger to keep the peace
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Reply By: Member - Boobook - Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 06:43

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 06:43
That booking system ( and the enforced travel schedule that you have to plan months in advance) is one of the reasons I didn't enjoy Cape York.

I had to book for a group of 4 vehicles 4 months in advance with some spots full even then.

Apart from a user interface written by a chimp ( you have to re enter all the details including rego numbers etc if you want to make a small change to one item). As others have said there is no policing. we could not get our allocated spot several times.

I got on the phone to an operator and said how do I manage bookings if I am not sure about the exact dates or locations yet ( 4 months out from the trip) . She said book every date and location you think it might be, then a few days before, cancel the bookings you don't want, and get a refund. No wonder locations are full months from the actual date.

Seriously what a mess.

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Reply By: vk1dx - Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 08:38

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 08:38
Ditto - same as Chris.

Last trip to QLD was to the Gulf via Mt Isa, etc in 2012 (I think). Our spot at Lawn Hill Gorge was taken and no vacancy. There was a list with our name on but that was useless. Luckily we got a spot at Adels Grove. A pain for us as we use a roof top tent and had to take it down each day if we went on a drive.

System is untrustworthy and could get some one hurt if a blue started. Okay if everyone was honest but I think that hell will freeze over before that happens. Wake up QLD, your system stinks.

Not going back to QLD unless we stay in a caravan park, motel etc. Which we don't like as they are crowded.

Phil
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Reply By: Outback Epicurean - Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 09:14

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 09:14
Hi

Agree with everything on this post. Hopeless system that does not work. Feel sorry for Rangers who also hate the system as it causes so many problems.
However while good to vent feelings on this site, to be effective you MUST write to the Minister for parks and Premier telling them how bad it is. Sure you will get a robot letter response as I did but it will add to the pile of problem letters which can only help.
Please don't ignore the problem, it will spread to other states as well if we don't stand up now!!
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Follow Up By: Member - JOHN C16 - Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 16:02

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 16:02
It already has. This pestilence is moving faster than a cane toad. It reached Victoria 4 or 5 years ago. But Victoria does it better. They also increased costs. Unpowered campsite at Wilson's Promontory $60/night and Mount Buffalo $50/night are just two examples.

These costs are approximate.I just looked at Victoria's ParkStay website so I could give the precise costs. Guess what? It's not #%&@# working!

This confirms it is the same as the Queensland system. When I was in Cape York last year I tried using the self booking kiosks. They did'nt #%&@# work either!
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Reply By: Member -Pinko (NSW) - Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 13:34

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 13:34
We frequent the New England NP's (northern NSW) with no booking arrangements.
Most sites are taken by QLD. registered vehicles.
Does this tell you something ?
Living is a journey,it depends on where you go !
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Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 19:10

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 19:10
_
There is a very simple method to overcome this problem...................

Live in Queensland and holiday in SA, NT, and WA.

Works for us!
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Follow Up By: Nickywoop - Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 21:37

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 21:37
I live in SA Allan, good to holiday here, but make sure you are self sufficient with

electricity !!

Cheers Gaz
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 21:40

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 21:40
Yair Gaz, SA electricity has never been the same since I left.
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Follow Up By: ChrisVal7 - Thursday, Jan 19, 2017 at 17:44

Thursday, Jan 19, 2017 at 17:44
Think again; SA is introducing the same ridiculous scheme. They already have several parks which can only be accessed online. I worry about the turning up and finding someone on our booked site. Forget trying to find a ranger.
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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Thursday, Jan 19, 2017 at 18:20

Thursday, Jan 19, 2017 at 18:20
Chris, there are now ** 17 ** SA National or Conservation Parks you need to book before going !!
These are shown here with the bold text indicating Book before you go
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Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Friday, Jan 20, 2017 at 17:29

Friday, Jan 20, 2017 at 17:29
Les what a joke. Tallaringa Conservation Park - Book Before you go.
This park is on the Anne Beadell Hwy, there is no mobile coverage and you would know if you were going to camp there, and if you are coming from the west when it may be. Besides I don't know of a campground, only stopping of the road somewhere.
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Reply By: Member - Wildmax - Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 22:16

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 22:16
I've suggested to our site moderator that perhaps all the posts in this thread should be sent to the Qld National Parks Minister to show them how annoyed people are with their system.
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 22:39

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017 at 22:39
Good idea Wildmax. I was thinking of sending the link to this thread to the ministers for tourism and nat parks in states that are using this system.

Maybe even print it out and post it.
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Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Monday, Mar 13, 2017 at 19:15

Monday, Mar 13, 2017 at 19:15
I got a reply too mate - have noted this as a reply to the main post just wanted to alert you to that. I will scan and post the letter soon (3 pages).
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Follow Up By: Member - Wildmax - Monday, Mar 13, 2017 at 23:10

Monday, Mar 13, 2017 at 23:10
Thanks Michelle - presume they still don't want to listen !!?
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Reply By: Member - Trouper (NSW) - Thursday, Jan 19, 2017 at 19:31

Thursday, Jan 19, 2017 at 19:31
I was in the Diamantina NP (which is a fairly remote location) last July did not pre book as I knew the system did not work. Went to the rangers office, no-one there. So did not bother registering, just found a spot 100 metres away from the 'likely' camp sites along the river frontage and stayed there 2 nights no problems. Seems everyone wanted river frontage for some reason. We just walked to a quiet location at the waters edge set up the camp chairs......No Worries Maaate
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Follow Up By: Shaker - Thursday, Jan 19, 2017 at 19:37

Thursday, Jan 19, 2017 at 19:37
It's impossible to pre-plan remote trips, way too many variables!
It's bad enough with the permits to enter Aboriginal lands, where they want a date in & date out.

Tasmania is as bad as any, you buy a National Parks permit & still have to pay to camp, even the Rangers say it's a case of double dipping!

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Reply By: Idler Chris - Thursday, Jan 19, 2017 at 21:50

Thursday, Jan 19, 2017 at 21:50
Its is quite normal for NP entry fees and camping fees to be separate. Otherwise the day trippers would be subsidising the campers which would not be fair.
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Reply By: Idler Chris - Thursday, Jan 19, 2017 at 22:23

Thursday, Jan 19, 2017 at 22:23
Good idea Wildmax. I captured this web page and sent it to the Minister in an email which is shown below.
I don't expect any meaningful answer as the bean counters can undoubtedly show Management that the financial outcome improved when the system was introduced. This system caters very well for those NP's that are popular and patrolled by Rangers and I would not advocate any changes for these NP's.
What we are all talking about in this forum are the NP's that do not have a resident Ranger to sort out the people who do not do the right thing at the expense of the vast majority who want to do the right thing.
As I have said in this forum before I will not pay for anything where there is no surety that the goods/service will be delivered, and/or that if it is delivered that it will be suitable for my camping setup. I have no problem in paying the designated camp fees and as I have said before I do pay the next day when I have mobile coverage. The main problem with me doing this is their online system will not allow you to pay for camping prior to the current date so you use the current date which means their system says that site is occupied when it is not occupied denying somebody else from booking that site.



Its a bit blury so here is a copy of the text.
"Attention Hon Dr Steven Miles

Dear Sir,

Queensland has a park booking system which may work well for the few very popular parks but for the vast majority of your parks it is a nightmare. If a non government body imposed such a system the ACCC would have them in Court very quickly. Your system invites confrontation between park visitors which can lead to injuries and even deaths.
There has been much written on public internet forums about your abominable system of which the attachment taken from the ExplorOz website and is thread number 134128.
Unless there is some dramatic change in your system you are wasting a lot of your advertising dollars and you will be responsible should people be hurt or killed because of your booking system.

Christopher Smith"
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Sunday, Jan 22, 2017 at 17:32

Sunday, Jan 22, 2017 at 17:32
I think this would get more attention Chris.

Dear Dr Mills.

The Queensland Government's Parks booking system is cumbersome, non functional and a nightmare for campers. A quick browsing of travelling forums will show that a large number of people are avoiding Queensland as a result of this initiative.

You are losing revenue.
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Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Sunday, Jan 22, 2017 at 19:41

Sunday, Jan 22, 2017 at 19:41
Boobook you may well be right. But no good telling the EO community, they already know. Suggest you send it to Dr Mills. His email address is environment@ministerial.qld.gov.au
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Monday, Jan 23, 2017 at 06:29

Monday, Jan 23, 2017 at 06:29
Agreed.

Done.

I did expand it a little to set the context.
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Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Monday, Mar 13, 2017 at 19:14

Monday, Mar 13, 2017 at 19:14
Did you get a reply? I got a reply - have noted this in another reply to this post if you missed it.
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Reply By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Monday, Mar 13, 2017 at 19:13

Monday, Mar 13, 2017 at 19:13
Well you might be interested to know that I've just received a reply in hard copy from Dr Miles office. It is a 3 page letter that says nothing other than how good their system is and that they aren't interested in changing it as they believe it is the best system possible.
They do acknowledge reading this post and other comments on ExplorOz so you have been heard.
However, they do seem to indicate that you have no legal choice but to NOT CAMP if you cannot do so according to their rules.

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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Monday, Mar 13, 2017 at 21:26

Monday, Mar 13, 2017 at 21:26
3 pages of waffle, admitting the shortfalls, but no real answers in reply.

They wan't worry about it, because most likely THEY DON'T EVER HAVE TO USE IT !!
Plus they've got your $$$.

Typical GOVCO.
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Reply By: Idler Chris - Monday, Mar 13, 2017 at 22:17

Monday, Mar 13, 2017 at 22:17
I have also received a reply which is below.




As you can see it is exactly the same as the letter received by Michelle and presumably others.

Their second last paragraph says it all. They have looked at what other States do and say that they have been "deemed to be unsuitable for management of camping in Queensland". No explanation or any reasoning given. Queensland seem to think that they are unique and they know better than everyone else. In my submission I clearly made the distinction between the national parks that have a resident ranger and those that do not have a resident ranger. Clearly where there is a resident ranger their current system is fine and probably works well. Our beef is with the non resident ranger parks. Their reply indicates that they do not appreciate the difference. Instead of sitting in their ivory tower in Brisbane they should get out and talk to those who are affected by their stupid system. I have not been to Queensland for years now, but always ask anyone who has been to outback Queensland how they got on. The feed back I get is nothing has changed, it is just as dangerous as ever. Most of those who have tackled rangers if they run across one, is that they understand our frustrations but their hands are tied no one will listen to them. Their system encourages confrontation and somebody is going to get injured one day, and it will give me NO pleasure to write and tell them "I told you so". While I hope that no one does get hurt, but if they do, I hope they sue Queensland Parks for millions of dollars and just maybe they will then pull their heads out of the sand.
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Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Tuesday, Mar 14, 2017 at 12:30

Tuesday, Mar 14, 2017 at 12:30
Thanks Chris. I just shake my head...
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Reply By: Member - Ups and Downs - Tuesday, Mar 14, 2017 at 10:15

Tuesday, Mar 14, 2017 at 10:15
I think you have all missed the point.

The aim is to STOP people going to their park. They don't give a rat's.

Paul
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