Turkey Station among today's new national parks

Queensland has announced a raft of new national parks totalling 59,000 hectares, as it works toward doubling the State's protected areas.

The latest declarations include the 6000-hectare expansion of Eurimbula National Park near Gladstone that was a former pastoral property known as Turkey Station. 

Supporters of Protect Beautiful Queensland, a campaign to double Queensland’s protected areas by 2030, recently spent several days photographing the spectacular new national park.

Photo: Pew / Kerry Trapnell

The traditional country of the Bailai, Gurang, Gooreng Gooreng, and Taribelang Bunda Peoples includes habitat for koalas, greater gliders and the water mouse as well as roost sides for many species of shorebirds including the critically endangered great knot and eastern curlew.

The property's coastline and adjacent waters are part of the Great Barrier Reef Coast marine park, and it borders Eurimbula National Park to the south, making it a vital link in the conservation estate.

Pew Charitable Trusts Queensland Manager Andrew Picone welcomed the latest national park expansions but called for government ambition for statewide protected area growth to be matched with a detailed plan.

Areas like Turkey Station that create important links between existing protected areas are a vital piece of the puzzle for Queensland to create a world class National Park network.

Today's announcement is a welcome step toward the government’s goal of doubling Queensland's protected areas estate by 2030, but there is a huge gap between the state’s ambition and our current rate of progress.

The former Turkey Station, now part of Eurimbula National Park. Photo: Pew / Kerry Trapnell    

Queensland Conservation Council campaigner Nicky Moffat is hopeful the government’s vocal support for protected areas will be backed up by a boost in funding. 

As Australia’s most biodiverse state, Queensland’s natural landscapes are home to plants and animals found nowhere else on earth. Announcements like this one help ensure they’re kept healthy for our kids and grandkids to enjoy.

At just over 8 percent, Queensland’s total percentage of National Parks and protected areas is among the lowest in the country. The 10-year protected area strategy was a good start, but a strategy must be matched with planning and funding to make it happen.

The former Turkey Station, now part of Eurimbula National Park. Photo: Pew / Kerry Trapnell 

New Malbon Thompson Range National Park in Far North Queensland 

In the far north, 1264 hectares of new protected area have been created. 

They include the creation of the 620-hectare new Malbon Thompson Range National Park about 19km southeast of Cairns, and the expansion of 10 existing national parks. 

"Far North Queenslanders love getting out in nature, it's what our region is all about, camping, hiking, being out in boats and swimming in pristine creeks,” Cairns and Far North Environment Centre director Lucy Graham said. 

“We've been calling for the expansion of our protected areas, and we are excited to see more than 1000ha being added to our National Parks.”

In North Queensland, 43,399 hectares of new protected area including the new The Lakes National Park, about 210 kilometres west of Charters Towers, and the expansion of Magnetic Island National Park and Paluma Range National Park. 

South East Queensland national park expansion

“The Darling Downs Environment Council welcomes and congratulates the state government on the expansion of Lockyer Valley National Park by just over 500 hectares," Darling Downs Environment Council Coordinator Ahri Tallon said.

"The vulnerable and near threatened species such as the mountain guinea flower, brush-tailed rock-wallaby, and black-breasted button-quail that all live in this special place will benefit from this increase in protected areas.”

Australia has signed up to the global target of protecting 30 percent of its land and sea by 2030, and the state released a 10 year protected areas strategy in 2020 committing to double protected areas and reach 17%.