National Parks for Life

 

Queensland is behind the rest of Australia in the amount of land area protected by national parks.

Despite Queensland’s living cultural landscapes being the most diverse of any state or territory in Australia, we have the smallest percentage of land in protected areas such as national parks. 

In 2016 the Queensland Government committed to doubling the area of protected land from around 8% to 17% (1). However, in 2020, we are still at 8% with very little change. Well-managed national parks and private land reserves are our best chance to protect endangered wildlife, conserve nature for future generations and protect cultural values.

National Parks provide a legal safeguard for wildlife and connect us with rich, life-giving landscapes essential for our well being. Worth over $3.7 billion to Queensland’s economy, national parks and other protected areas are also a proven safe-haven for wildlife. More well-managed national parks and an increase in management investment is good for jobs, the economy and nature. 

National parks are nature’s playground and a treasure to pass on to our children and grandchildren. 

As Queenslander's, we are lucky to live in one of the most wildlife-rich places on the planet. New national parks will offer even more places for friends and families to explore and experience low-impact adventure and freedom. National parks are a safe haven for endangered wildlife, giving these species an opportunity to survive. Children deserve the chance to see wildlife that is protected in Queensland national parks. 

National parks offer us an opportunity to reflect upon our wellbeing, and mental health research points to natural settings to reconnect with nature. 

Queensland’s national parks are a powerful drawcard for locals and tourists from Australia and around the world. Visitors to national parks in Queensland spend about $3.7 billion every year, of which $2.6 billion is generated by the national parks, supporting over 17,000 jobs mostly in regional Queensland (2).  

This expenditure has a positive direct impact on local Queensland businesses that provide services and supplies. With a focus on domestic tourism and travel, it is safe to say that new national parks will be attractive for a renewed audience who are looking forward to holidays that reignite their adventurous Queensland spirit.

More well-managed national parks will enable new tourism developments and opportunities to be built close to national parks, to showcase Queensland’s spectacular heritage.

 

A new approach to national parks

While national parks need to remain focused on nature conservation, there is now global acknowledgement that this focus should never be at the exclusion of living Indigenous cultures.

Queensland’s Landmark Cape York Tenure Resolution Program delivers a leading consent-based model of negotiating new Aboriginal owned national parks. This unique process has been supported by successive Queensland governments of all persuasions for nearly twenty years and has resulted in over 2 million hectares of Aboriginal owned national parks jointly managed with the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service. This world-leading model is currently being extended to the World Heritage-listed Daintree National Park.

The benefits of joint management include diversified employment opportunities and an increase in revenue streams for national parks. There are also significant socio-economic benefits, with an increasing number of Indigenous rangers across the sector. Career opportunities, niche tourism and cultural maintenance all arise from this joint management approach and the growth in land management enterprises. 

QCC supports the leadership of Queensland's First Nations peoples in the ongoing management of protected areas and their free, prior and informed consent in its expansion.

 

National Parks are a safe haven for endangered wildlife under threat of extinction

National Parks are home to endangered wildlife. With so much of Queensland’s wildlife now under threat, we urgently need more well-managed national parks. 

In a number of instances, protected areas such as national parks have provided the last refuges for threatened species. For example, the northern hairy-nosed wombat is found only in Epping Forest National Park, north-west of Rockhampton. The last wombat census at Epping Forest National Park estimated a population of about one hundred and sixty-three (163) northern hairy-nosed wombats. This was the remaining population following the demise of the species in its original range. It is unclear why the wombats were able to survive at Epping Forest National Park, but it is likely that the positive and deliberate management by the Dennis family (who managed the land before it was gazetted as a national park) was a contributing factor. Without national park protection, the northern hairy-nosed wombat could already be extinct today.

 

Take Action

Please join us and sign our petition to show your support for the National Parks for Life campaign. Alternatively, you can share pictures and stories of time spent in Queensland's national parks on the National Parks for Life story map.

As Queenslanders, we treasure our national parks and with the leadership and consent of First Nations people, call on the Queensland Government to build a bigger and better system of parks and protected areas across the state by: 

  1. Maintaining the commitment to double the size of Queensland’s protected area system.
  2. Investing in well-managed new National Parks to protect species and help rebuild regional tourism. 
  3. Increasing funding for management of our existing national parks, creating more jobs for Park Rangers and land managers.

What can you do to support the campaign?

  • Place pictures of your stories of time spent in Queensland's national parks on the National Parks for Life story map.
  • Send an email to your QLD Member of Parliament to call for more funding - Email your MP 
  • Support QCC’s campaign to increase National Parks in QLD - Sign the National Parks for Life petition
  • Spread the word - Ask your friends and family to sign the petition and join you in support of the campaign.

Further Reading:

 

Building a world leading protected area system for Queensland: Protected Area Alliance position paper.
Lost Opportunities for new national parks in Queensland: How funding new national parks will benefit Queensland's wildlife and economy.

Selling nature short: Queensland's failure to invest in protected areas placing wildlife at risk.

 

 

 

1 - Hon Steven Miles, 2016, Queensland Government media release.

2 - Driml, S & Brown, R 2019. Queensland’s National Parks: an economically important tourism resource. Presentation to the Global Eco Asia-Pacific Tourism Conference 2 Dec-2019.