Fraser Island’s newly installed dingo deterrent grids are a disaster waiting to happen, according to long-time locals upset that two people have now been badly injured after slipping on them.
The latest casualty was international volunteer student Kylie Washer, 19, from Britain, who needed six stitches to her forehead and suffered bruised legs after falling on the Eurong village grid last week.
Last month a woman, 75, was flown to hospital in Hervey Bay with soft tissue injuries to her legs after also slipping through the grid, which provides vehicle access through the island’s controversial new dingo fencing.
While pedestrian gates are installed to one side of the grid, many residents say tourists just do not see them or use them.
Island resident Lisa Walker said Ms Washer had only just arrived at Eurong with friends, saw the beach and ran excitedly towards the water before slipping through the first few rungs of the grid and falling headlong across the sharp-topped bars.
“People just don’t expect there to be a cattle grid in the middle of the beach,” Ms Walker said. “When the grids are electrified the wires will sit above the top of the points on most of the bars.
“What happens to people or animals when they are electrified?”
Fraser Island Defenders Organisation chief John Sinclair said the grids were “not perfect and not an ideal solution”, but it was at least one way of protecting the island’s dingoes.
“I can see them (dingoes) being wiped out if there continues to be conflict with dogs attacking people,” he said.
Minister for Sustainability Andrew McNamara could not be contacted for comment yesterday.