New fee rise will hurt Snakes Downunder
IAN Jenkins has spent years building Snakes Downunder into a well-known tourist attraction.
In the lead up to the new financial year, a time when he should be worried about the simple task of income statements and tax returns, he is fearful his business won’t survive after July 1.
This is because of the new Exhibited Animals Act, which is in draft form, and is set to go through when Cabinet meets next.
“We have been tied up a fair bit with this new legislation going through for exhibited animals,” he said.
“There is a lot of stuff we are not happy with; there is a lot of time not doing what you want to do.”
What Mr Jenkins would rather be doing, instead of sitting in front of a computer screen filing paperwork, is caring for his animals and growing his business.
The new legislation is designed to prevent or minimalise the risks associated with dealing and exhibiting animals.
But Mr Jenkins’ main concerns are the time he will spend away from the zoo to comply with the regulations and the increase in fees in each application to display each animal.
“For an amendment to a permit, say to add an animal, it will go from $18 to $453 just to have the application looked at,” he said.
“And the way you identify animals; they want to have each animal microchipped or a tag in its ear. And sometime you can’t do that with some animals.
“They will no longer allow photographic identification.”
Along with this, a new management plan will be introduced which Mr Jenkins said would take up more time.
He said each blue tongue or shingle back lizard would require a individual management plan but when kept by persons with a recreational licence it would not be the case.
Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Leanne Donaldson said the licensing change would help simplify and assist businesses like Snakes Downunder.
She said small exhibitors of native animals will generally pay either less or the same as they currently pay.
“Significantly, only the few large exhibitors in Queensland, and those who exhibit exotic animals, will pay higher fees than the current very low rate,” Ms Donaldson said.
“The changes will bring them into line with the fees charged in other states.
“Exhibitors will be expected to develop management plans to meet relevant risks including those associated with animal welfare, biosecurity and safety.”
Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett said he sat on the committee that drafted the bill under but was concerned it had now become a cash grab and miss the point entirely.
“I would be concerned if this regulation was just a grab for cash on unsuspecting small business operators,” Mr Bennett said.
“I look forward to working with the local key stakeholders to determine a course of action.”
Snakes Downunder’s Ian Jenkins We have been tied up a fair bit ...
CHILDERS IS WILD: Macca gets some sun at Snakes Downunder.
Kathy Chalker takes a photo of Derrek Chalker.
The kangaroos are one of the many attractions.