Locals 'overjoyed' as 12,000 hectares of new SEQ national parks announced

In a win for people and nature, 12,000 hectares of Southeast Queensland native forests will become national park and conservation park as logging winds up in SEQ State Forests this year.

On Friday the Miles Government started the process to dedicate a selection of former logging zones to protected areas.

Areas that will soon be protected include

  • More than 1000 hectares of Peachester, Beerburrum West and Luttons State Forests which will be added to Glass House Mountains National Park and Glass House Mountains Conservation Park, including habitat for the greater glider and koala
  • About 780 hectares of Yabba, Elgin Vale and Jimna State Forests which will be added to Wrattens National Park north west of Kenilworth, protecting habitat of the tusked frog, glossy black-cockatoo and koala
  • More than 6,400 hectares of Squirrel Creek State Forest between Conondale and Nanango will become Squirrel Creek National Park.

Sunshine Coast Environment Council Advocacy Manager Narelle McCarthy said:

The protection of these forests will contribute significantly to expanding the region’s protected area estate and the aim of no net loss of vegetation from the 2016 extent within the Sunshine Coast local government area.

With increasing population growth and urban pressures, these additions provide important connectivity, protect vital habitat and biodiversity while offering opportunities for people to connect with nature.

These new conservation areas are in line with the objectives of the Sunshine Coast Biosphere commitments and initiatives for a sustainable future which celebrates nature and people.

Many passionate people who love nature are celebrating this news with us today.

Imbil resident and champion of a national park proposal in the area, Ian Stehbens, said:

I am overjoyed to see our vision for a connected swathe of protected forests around the Yabba come closer to fruition.

Wildlife needs large connected patches to thrive, so it is wonderful to see large areas of the high conservation value forest at Yabba and nearby Jimna and Elgin Vale state forests on track for protection.

I have personally been calling for the protection of these forests for many years after discovering threatened species that hadn’t been recorded there and studying the extraordinary natural features of the rugged landscape. It is truly a special place and I hope more people will enjoy it and that will help our local economy too.

Queensland Conservation Council Protected Areas Campaigner Nicky Moffat said:

Studies show that Investing $1 in Queensland’s national parks creates at least $6 in economic benefits through hospitality and tourism.

It’s great to see the vital habitat these forests create being protected for future generations and for the conservation of threatened plants and animals - but local communities are the biggest winners in this decision.

Many of these forests have long been enjoyed by bushwalkers, mountain bike riders and nature based businesses.

Park rangers in the area have been very active in working with local volunteers, so I am confident Friends Of Parks groups will be set up and there will be opportunities for locals to get involved in the care, study and restoration of these forests for their biodiversity and cultural values.

It is also critically important that Traditional Owners of the areas are meaningfully involved in ongoing care of the areas.