New future for Stradbroke when sands of mine stop

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North Stradbroke Island near Brisbane could become a mecca for grey nomads when sand mining operations are phased out there, largely by 2019.

The Queensland government has just released its draft economic strategy mapping out its ideas for where the island may go after mining – which currently directly employs 270 people – ends.

And it seems spreading the word about the island’s white sandy beaches, improving camping spots, and developing walking and cycling tracks is high on the agenda.

The government strategy identifies it is difficult to attract tourists, other than locals familiar with the island’s appeals, to ‘Straddie’.

Although tourism generates $25 million per year in direct value to the Stradbroke Island economy and supports an estimated 213 full time equivalent jobs, the report says very few interstate and international tourists travel to the island.

Domestic overnight visitors make up the majority of visitation to the island (75%), with day-trippers (22%) and international overnight (3%) accounting for the remainder.

Interestingly, visitors to North Stradbroke Island spend an estimated $20 per person per day, “well below” other coastal communities.

The state government recommends a ‘Straddie specific’ marketing campaign, estimated to cost $350,000, over the next three years to bring more interstate and overseas tourist to the island.

Better campsites are reportedly one of the major areas on Environment Minister Vicky Darling’s ‘Straddie’ wish list.

About $5.3million is slated to be spent upgrading and designing several camping grounds, which will become part of the Minjerribah Recreation Area. About $3million will go to the campsite at Home Beach and $1.5million to Flinders Beach.

About $2.6million is allocated to developing island trails, walking and cycling tracks with $1.96million for a cycle track linking Amity to Point Lookout. Other short-term tourism plans include $2.5million to establish the Minjerriba Knowledge Centre and $65,000 on a committee to set up a dive site. $350,000 is also to be set aside for constructing a whale platform.

The government’s 22-page draft strategy will be up for public consultation until January 31.

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