Funding boost to enhance visitor safety and preserve wongari on K’gari

Published Saturday, 16 September, 2023 at 09:30 AM

Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for Multicultural Affairs
The Honourable Leanne Linard

  • The Palaszczuk Government will provide additional funding to support enhanced community safety on K’gari following a number of recent negative interactions between humans and the island’s wongari (dingo) population
  • The funding will create 13 additional jobs, comprising six Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service rangers, four Indigenous rangers and three Department of Environment and Science technical support positions to support the on-ground efforts.
  • It will also fund enhanced safety messaging.

The Palaszczuk Government will invest an additional $2 million in funding this financial year and an additional $3 million annually ongoing to support enhanced community safety on K’gari.

The increased funding will support the employment of an additional six Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service rangers, three specialist staff within the Department of Environment and Science and four additional Indigenous rangers in partnership with the Traditional Owners, the Butchulla People.

The additional QPWS and Butchulla rangers will increase face-to-face engagement and compliance activity with tourists and locals as well as enhanced management and monitoring of wongari that exhibit threatening and high-risk behaviour.

Safety messaging and communications will be expanded to include the delivery of additional proactive safety messages at locations where tourists obtain camping permits and at arrival points on the island.

The funding boost follows a number of negative interactions between the island’s native wongari (dingo) species and humans, which resulted in injuries to the humans ranging from minor to very serious.

Quotes attributable to Environment Minister, Leanne Linard:

“K’gari is one of the jewels in Queensland’s tourism and environmental crown. It is an iconic and truly unique World Heritage Area which attracts an estimated 500,000 campers annually, as well as visitors to private accommodation venues.

“However, the natural setting that attracts so many visitors to K’gari also presents challenges, particularly in regards to the island’s wongari population and their interactions with humans.

“In recent months, we have seen a number of wongari attacks on humans, ranging from minor to very serious.

“In July, following a very serious incident involving a woman being attacked by a wongari, I travelled to the island to meet with rangers, locals, tourists and the Traditional Owners, the Butchulla people, to discuss ways to further enhance safety for visitors while preserving the wongari.

“As a result of those discussions, I am pleased to announce additional funding for more rangers and support staff and enhanced safety messaging and communications on the island.

“The management of wongari is guided by the Fraser Island Dingo Conservation and Risk Management Strategy.

“The strategy includes a range of measures to ensure public safety through education, awareness, fencing of camping and township areas, research and ongoing management and monitoring.

“The strategy was reviewed in 2020 by the Queensland Chief Scientist, with the assistance of an expert panel, and was found to be comprehensive and effective. Ninety-eight per cent of recommendations made to enhance the strategy are either fully implemented or in progress.

“The message to those visiting and living on K’gari is simple – enjoy this unique natural wonder but always be alert to the presence of wongari, heed the safety messages, educate yourself about how to behave around wongari and always treat them like the wild animals that they are.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Hervey Bay, Adrian Tantari:

“In the past five years, bookings for camping permits have increased by 51 per cent as more people discover the beauty and pristine wilderness of K’gari.

“The Palaszczuk Government wants everyone who visits K’gari to do so safely.

“The QPWS and Butchulla rangers play an important role in not only managing the wongari populating but engaging with tourists and locals and educating them on ways to enjoy their stay safely.

“Having even more rangers working across the island will mean more face-to-face engagement with tourists and enhanced monitoring of wongari that may be exhibiting threatening behaviour.”

Further information:

Visitors to K’gari are reminded to be dingo safe at all times:

  • Always stay close (within arm’s reach) of children and young teenagers
  • Always walk in groups, never alone
  • Always carry a stick when walking
  • Camp in fenced areas where possible
  • Do not run. Running or jogging can trigger a negative dingo interaction
  • Never feed dingoes
  • Lock up food stores and iceboxes (even on a boat)
  • Never store food or food containers in tents, and
  • Secure all rubbish, fish and bait.

For more information go to K’gari dingoes.


Media contact: Scott Chandler – (07) 3719 7339