Snakes Dow­nun­der un­der threat

Isis Town and Country - - Front Page - Jodie Dixon

SNAKES Dow­nun­der Rep­tile Park and Zoo is fac­ing fee in­creases of more than 2000% that could po­ten­tially shut down the suc­cess­ful busi­ness.

Mem­ber for Bur­nett Stephen Ben­nett said the Palaszczuk Govern­ment’s pro­posed Ex­hib­ited An­i­mals Reg­u­la­tion would sti­fle op­er­a­tors by smoth­er­ing them in red tape and un­af­ford­able fees.

“If these laws are passed, there is a real chance that the likes of Snakes Dow­nun­der Rep­tile Park and Zoo would be forced to shut their doors,” he said.

“The strin­gent regulations will mean op­er­a­tors like Ian Jenk­ins will be con­fined to a desk try­ing to com­ply with red tape and un­rea­son­able ex­pec­ta­tions in dis­play­ing and tag­ging each an­i­mal.

“It would be a great shame to see lo­cal hard-work­ing busi­ness op­er­a­tors like Ian Jenk­ins, who has spent years build­ing up a ter­rific tourist at­trac­tion, forced to close due to un­re­al­is­tic and unattain­able govern­ment red tape and fees.”

Ian Jenk­ins said most of Queens­land zoos were pri­vately owned and the an­nual per­mit fees were set to in­crease.

“It will sev­er­ally limit our abil­ity to ex­pand and im­prove, our ma­jor fo­cus is pro­mot­ing wildlife con­ser­va­tion,” Mr Jenk­ins said.

Mr Ben­nett said the changes would im­pose an un­fair dis­ad­van­tage on small busi­nesses as op­posed to mem­bers of the pub­lic car­ry­ing recre­ational li­cences.

“In ef­fect, the changes mean, for a zoo to get a new finch, a new skink or a new python, they will need to sub­mit a de­tailed ap­pli­ca­tion along with $453, yet any mem­ber of the pub­lic with lit­tle ex­pe­ri­ence who has a cheap recre­ational li­cence can go and buy these same an­i­mals from a pet shop, no ques­tions asked,” he said.

“Un­der the pro­posed regulations, a per­son in Queens­land can now ob­tain a per­mit to ac­quire a firearm faster, cheaper, and with far less scru­tiny than an op­er­a­tor try­ing to ac­quire a com­monly kept blue tongue lizard.”

Mr Ben­nett said he feared the new laws were just a cash grab on un­sus­pect­ing small busi­ness op­er­a­tors.

Mr Ben­nett vowed to fight against the Ex­hib­ited An­i­mals Reg­u­la­tion, due to be de­bated at the next sit­ting of Par­lia­ment.

“The LNP has in­tro­duced a dis-allowance mo­tion against the reg­u­la­tion be­cause we know it will crip­ple busi­nesses like Snakes Dow­nun­der.”

Mr Jenk­ins said the new regulations would pre­vent his busi­ness from grow­ing.

“The ini­tial cost won't send us broke but it will se­verely hin­der our growth, and we need to be able to ex­pand,” he said.

The ini­tial cost won’t send us broke but it will se­verely hin­der our growth. — Ian Jenk­ins

PHOTO: JODIE DIXONBIT010716SNAKES

EX­HIBIT LAWS: Snake Dow­nun­der owner Ian Jenk­ins with Stephen Ben­nett MP.

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