‘Open up fossicking areas and the nomads will come’

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Grey nomads fossicking
Fossicking is very popular in the Clermont area.

There’s tourism gold in them thar fossicking fields, and businesses in Queensland’s Clermont area want to know why more isn’t being done to draw in sieve and shovel carrying travellers.

Top of the list of questions being asked by the Clermont Community and Business Group is why can’t there be a change to state laws that would allow the expansion of fossicking areas.

The Morning Bulletin newspaper reports that the Blair Athol Forest spans 54,000 hectares and includes a few General Permission Areas where people are allowed to fossick. However, these areas are greatly outnumbered by the areas that are off-limits. This despite the fact that some new areas were opened up to fossickers earlier this year.

Frieda Berry-Porter, co-owner of local store Outback Prospector and secretary of the Community and Business Group, is mystified and upset.

“They are off-limits due to requiring permission to access from grazing leaseholders who are considered the landowner under the Fossicking Act,” Mrs Berry-Porter said. “Being a state forest, these should be freely accessible to all members of the community, only requiring the purchase of the Queensland Fossicking Licence to go detecting.”

With fossicking tourism one of the main economic drivers of the town, Mrs Berry-Porter told the Morning Bulletin that the lack of access to the state forest and the lack of new General Permission Areas was making people turn away from the area.

“People don’t want to come back because there is no new land to detect,” she said. “For many grey nomads this is a second home – some people have been coming for 20 years and it has social, physical and emotional benefits for them as well … it is an important part of our local economy but there is so much more to it.”

The group has raised its concerns with local politicians and is demanding ‘answers, certainty and action’.

“This is a long-running issue,” said Mrs Berry-Porter. “Gold nuggets don’t grow back and prospecting makes up a significant part of the local economy.”

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3 Responses to ‘Open up fossicking areas and the nomads will come’

  1. Qld should follow victoria and most other states and allow fossicking in state forest. This would help businesses in small towns.

  2. Went out fosicking in the “new” area and all I found was scrap iron

  3. The new grounds are busy, in 1 day i saw more than 25 out fossicking.. ground is already very well worked. If you dont have a motor bike or quad cant see the point in going back. Its said for the town.. open up the state forests pretty simple for all the small towns dependant on tourism.

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