The WBBEC represents the Wide Bay Burnett Region. We cover an area from Gympie west to Kingaroy, north to Baffle Creek and east to Fraser Island, including all coastal districts in between with an estimated population of 300,000. The area includes 5 Local Government Areas, 7 State and 4 Federal Electorates. The region is supported by many industries with agriculture, forestry, tourism and manufacturing being the most significant.
The Region boasts some particularly famous icons such as the birth place of Mary Poppins author Pamela Travers (Maryborough), Bundaberg Rum and the Peanut Capital of Australia (Kingaroy).
However, our most famous icon is the World Heritage listed Fraser Island, known and recognised by the Butchulla people as K’gari. This internationally recognised World Heritage Site is the largest continually evolving sand island in the world and over half of the worlds perched lakes are found on the island. The sand dunes, some up to 240 high, support remnant rainforests that continue to thrive in conditions that elsewhere in the world do not support such ecosystems above 200m elevation.
Over 350 bird species call the island home for at least part of the year making it a significant site for migratory wading birds who use the islands’ beaches to rest during their long migration between Australia and their breeding grounds in Siberia.
Few mammals call the island home however the Dingo (Canis lupis dingo) has populated the island for thousands of years with Butchulla people who coexisted with the animals without issue. Dingos found on the island are believed to be the most pure strain found in Eastern Australia. Dingos on the island are protected under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 because they are located within a Protected Area. Subsequently it is an offence to feed or interfere with dingos on the island and penalties apply.
Around 400,000 people visit K’gari every year which makes it our region’s most valuable tourism asset. However the high tourism numbers mean that the island must be managed under a strict framework to ensure that the environmental and world heritage values are protected. The majority of the island is covered by National Park with small areas of freehold land interspersed however the entire island is listed as a World Heritage Area including 500m seaward from the shore.
The National Park is managed by Queensland Parks and Wildlife service under the State Government. The World Heritage Area is jointly managed by the State and Federal Governments who appoint 3 advisory committees to assist both levels of government with this task; Scientific, Indigenous and Community Advisory Committees. WBBEC represents conservation on the Community Advisory Committee and as such is able to provide advice on conservation matters to the State and Federal Governments to assist in the long-term protection and effective management of the internationally recognised icon.