Queensland is behind the nation in 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). 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 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 $2.6 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 Queenslanders we are lucky to live in one of the most wildlife-rich places on the planet. New national parks offer more places for a family to explore, experience low-impact adventure and freedom. National parks are a safe haven for endangered wildlife. 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 tourists, they generate approximately $5.6 billion in spending by tourists every year, $952 million of which come directly from people visiting national parks (2). This expenditure has a positive direct impact on local Queensland businesses providing services and supplies.With a focus on domestic tourism and travel - it is safe to say that new national parks will be a draw card 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 and 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 should never be to 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 and jointly managed national parks with the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service on Cape York Peninsula. 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 the 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 with 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. Epping Forest National Park, is the location for most of the worlds population of northern hairy-nose wombats. The last census estimated a population of about one hundred and sixty three northern hairy nosed wombats there. It was the remaining population following the demise of the species in the rest of its range. It is unclear why it persisted there but it is likely that 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, this species could have become extinct.
Please join us and sign the petition to show your support for the campaign for National Parks for Life.
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:
- Maintaining the commitment to double the size of Queensland’s protected area system.
- Investing in well-managed new National Parks to protect species and help rebuild regional tourism.
- Increasing funding for management of our existing national parks, creating more jobs for Park Rangers and land managers.
What you can do to support the campaign
- Place pictures of your memories of time spent in Queensland's national parks on the National Parks for Life story map.
- 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.
1 - Hon Steven Miles, 2016, Queensland Government media release.
2 - Ballantyne R et al (2008), Valuing Tourism Spend Arising from Visitation to Queensland National Parks, Sustainable Tourism CRC.