4WDers fined heavily for causing significant damage in Pinnacles Reserve

Published: March 17, 2023

Two drivers who unlawfully drove through a protected wetland area in north Queensland have been fined more than $1,400 each after their cars and debris caused significant environmental damage.

The ABC reports that the drivers were among a group of 11, including two children, who illegally entered an unauthorised zone in the Pinnacles Reserve near Townsville last month.

Their six vehicles were abandoned after they became bogged in a heavy downpour.

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service senior conservation officer Craig Dunk told the ABC that it turned from something relatively simple into a dangerous event.

“Ultimately it meant that at about five o’clock in the morning they then made a call to QFES, police and SES,” Mr Dunk said. “Six people I believe were taken out on the helicopter and another five were taken by the swift water rescue team.”

The vehicles, some bogged to the axles, remained in the protected area for weeks afterwards.

Some of the damage caused. PIC: Queensland DES

Mr Dunk said litter, including broken snatch straps and rum cartons, was found among the vegetation.

The damage to the reserve is estimated to cost about $50,000 dollars to repair.

Mr Dunk told the ABC that the drivers who escaped fines were cooperative with authorities.

“Four of the people that were involved actually came into our offices and explained themselves and explained what happened,” Mr Dunk said. “We were a bit more lenient with those people [and] issued formal warning notices rather than infringement notices to those people.”

Mr Dunk said the other drivers were not as cooperative.

He said the protected area had been accessed through an area critical to firefighters.

“It was accessed via a fire break and the fire break is very important to allow fire vehicles to protect that part of the reserve or potentially protect our neighbours,” he said.

Mr Dunk encouraged people to check the weather forecast before four-wheel driving, and stay on approved tracks and roads.

The two fines issued were $1,437 each.

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Fine not half enough

Why not fine them $50,000 to cover the damage that they did. Fine way too light.

Who covers the costs of recovering people getting themselves stuck where they were not supposed to be in the first place. Helicopters , SES ,Police . Who covers all costs? Just another incident of
idiots and the tax payer picks up the bulk of the bill. Authorities are far to easy on these clowns.

dead right,

IWe’ll donate to the rescue helicopter when they start charging this type of fool

Yes if this was a Signed & designated protected Wet Lands, then Charge them and make them Pay the Costs of the Rescue and the Cost of the Damage repair Bill to recover the Wet Lands back to as near as possible to the Natural condition.

Fine them heavily and confiscate their cars

In South Australia it’s $1,000 a wheel , they got off lightly.

What gives the police the right to be judge and jury re the issue of infringements?
Does this mean that if i’m nice to the cop on a pullover he can ignore the law?
Conversely, can they book you in case you transgress?
Law is the law. doesn’t matter if the cop is a friend or even an associate.

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