A WEEKLONG operation in the Whitsundays has revealed seven of ten tourism operators were non-compliant with the Environmental Protection Act.
A WEEKLONG operation in the Whitsundays has revealed seven of ten tourism operators were non-compliant with the Environmental Protection Act. Tourism Australia

Whitsunday Island resorts contravening environmental obligations

A WEEKLONG operation in the Whitsundays has revealed seven of ten tourism operators were non-compliant with the Environmental Protection Act.

The weeklong investigation, dubbed Operation Hawkfish, was the joint effort of six government agencies.

Minister for Environment Dr Steven Miles said the targeted operators were located across ten inshore island locations between Mackay and Bowen.

"There were several non-operating locations checked including resorts on Brampton Island, Lindeman Island, one of the three on Long Island, South Molle Island and Hook Island," Dr Miles said.

Dr Miles said while 70% of those investigated were non-compliant, the majority of contraventions were minor and related to compliance, environmental licensing and coastal approvals.

"Despite the number of operators being non-compliant, overall the operation was very well received with operators being able to ask a wide range of questions of multiple agencies that were answered on the spot," he said.

"EHP officers completed these inspections, but also spent a lot of time educating the community and operators on best environmental practice and coastal approvals.

"We wanted to ensure companies were also following regulations on their water and sewage treatment, waste storage and disposal, as well as being compliant for any quarrying and dredging that may be occurring."

The operation was undertaken from October 11 to 17.

The agencies involved included the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, Queensland Police Service, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Maritime Safety Queensland, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Australian Border Force.

If a corporation is found to contravene a condition of an environmental authority, the potential maximum penalty is $548,550.


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