Wivenhoe, Somerset boat fees abandoned in cost-cutting plan

SOMERSET and Wivenhoe dam boaties will enjoy the same conditions as the rest of South East Queensland from today as boating permits are officially abandoned.

Boating permits for Wivenhoe and Somerset dams, the only two Seqwater sites for which permits were required, were phased out from last year, saving fisherman and water enthusiasts $100 a year.

It comes after Seqwater allowed restricted fuel-powered boats on Wivenhoe Dam for the first time from December 2015 as part of its region-wide recreation review.

Seqwater CEO Jim Pruss said the elimination of permits was another example of Seqwater simplifying its systems and making recreation accessible to more people.

"Almost 2.7 million people visit Seqwater's dams, lakes and parks each year and thousands of them are boat owners," Mr Pruss said.

"Discontinuing boating permits which only operated at two of our many lakes provides a more consistent approach to access across all of our lakes where boating is permitted."

South Queensland Powerboat Club Commodore Grant Jones said he expected more boaties to get out on the lakes with permits no longer required.

"Boating is expensive enough without the added cost of permit fees," Mr Jones said.

"Finding ways to make it more affordable means more people can enjoy the pastime more often."

Somerset Regional Councillor Helen Brieschke said at the time the phase-out was a positive move towards creating fair conditions for South East Queensland communities.

"Lets hope it encourages more people to come out here, it's a wonderful spot," she said.

Acting Water Supply Minister Curtis Pitt said the decision meant there would be fewer financial barriers facing boaties and would add to efforts as part of a wider strategy to boost recreation and regional tourism.

"Boaties previously paid $100 for an annual boating permit," Mr Pitt said.

"By removing that financial barrier, we hope it will encourage more people to visit and enjoy these great recreational areas."

The end of the boating permit scheme will not affect Seqwater's ability to maintain the recreation facilities or the responsibility for boaties to follow the licensing and registration requirements set out by the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads.

For more information about recreation on SEQ lakes visit www.seqwater.com.au



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