Indigenous joint management delivers conservation success on Cape York as region surpasses 30% protection

Conservation groups have today welcomed the Queensland Government's continued investment in joint management of national parks on Cape York Peninsula and highlighted the importance of the $14.8 million funding for joint management in achieving state and national targets.

Indigenous owned and jointly managed national parks cover 2.3 million hectares of land on Cape York. When combined with private protected areas across Indigenous and pastoral land, this results in nearly 4 million hectares of Cape York being protected - 35% of the region.

Both the Queensland and federal governments have committed to increasing protected areas. Queensland’s Protected Area Strategy will see a doubling of the existing 8.6% of land protected to 17%, while the Federal Government has committed to lifting the current national percentage from 22% to 30% by 2030.

The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Cairns and Far North Environment Centre and the Queensland Conservation Council are calling on the Queensland and Federal Governments to work together to ensure national park growth continues to deliver equitable outcomes for First Nations people and apply joint management principles more broadly across Queensland.

Pew Charitable Trusts Queensland Manager Andrew Picone said,

Cape York Peninsula is now one of the best protected regions of Australia - which has been made possible through a long-supported increase in First Nations leadership of national park management.

With continued investment, the Cape York model of Indigenous owned and jointly managed national parks will make an invaluable contribution to meeting the Federal Government’s commitment to protect 30% of Australia’s land by 2030.

Queensland Conservation Council Protected Areas Campaigner Nicky Moffat said,

Over 2.3 million hectares of Cape York is now protected in jointly managed and Indigenous owned national parks, with a further 1.3 million hectares protected as nature refuges.

Indigenous owned and jointly managed national parks are fundamental to the equitable delivery of state and national protected area targets. It’s encouraging to see the Palaszczuk Government’s continued investment in this model of joint management and land tenure resolution – an approach that has our strong support.

Cairns and Far North Environment Centre Director Lucy Graham said,

Increasing investment and support for joint management is crucial for the long-term management and protection of this region's national parks. It must be delivered in a way that centers Indigenous knowledge and decision making.