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