Queensland Protected Area Strategy a ‘strong foundation for nature’, according to peak environmental groups

Queensland's Protected Area Strategy a ‘strong foundation for nature’, according to peak environmental groups

Leading environmental groups have welcomed the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to expanding and better managing national parks and privately protected areas with the release of a Protected Area Strategy today.

The Queensland Conservation Council, National Parks Association of Queensland, Pew Charitable Trusts, WWF Australia and the Australian Conservation Foundation have met the Queensland Government’s plan to boost the total area protected on public and private land with optimism.

“Today’s release of the Protected Area Strategy has the potential to be a turning point on expanding and caring for our national parks and nature refuges, but an ambitious plan needs to be matched with ambitious funding.  That’s what we’ll be looking for from all sides of politics in the coming weeks and months,” said Andrew Picone, QCC’s Protected Area Program Coordinator. 

“But the addition of measurable targets for expansion and management will be critical elements for this strategy to be effective,” said Andrew Picone.

“We welcome the Strategy’s emphasis on improving engagement with First Nations people for protected area expansion and management across the state,” said  Sophia Walter, Queensland Manager for the Pew Charitable Trusts.

“Queenslanders love to get out in national parks, the cornerstone of our tourism industry. Investment in national parks and the jobs they bring should be a key plank in our economic recovery,” said Susanne Cooper, President of the National Parks Association of Queensland. 

We need to invest now to secure this legacy for our children and grandchildren,” said Susanne Cooper.

“We call on all parties to commit the resources needed to build a world class protected area system,” said Andrew Picone. 

“The strategy underscores the enormous economic, social and environmental benefits of protected areas for Queensland,” said Martin Taylor, WWF Australia’s Protected Areas and Conservation Science Manager.  

“A $60 million down payment is a solid kickstart for the strategy, but we need to see investment of at least $135 million a year to restart progress on fulfilling the government’s vision of a ‘world class’ protected area estate,” said Susanne Cooper.

“Investment in protected areas will help to support the state's economic recovery, and we will be seeking further investment in next year's state budget,” said Sophia Walter. 

Despite having more plant and animal species than any state or territory, Queensland currently protects the least proportion of land or any state or territory at just 8.2 per cent. This is well below the Queensland Government’s target of 17 per cent protection, in line with international targets.

For further information & comment contact: 

Sophia Walter, Pew Charitable Trusts, swalter@pewtrusts.org, 0476 260 028

Andrew Picone, Queensland Conservation Council, 0457 798 359 

Laura Hahn, National Parks Association of Queensland, conservation@npaq.org.au, 0416 176 330

 

National park images and video available on request: 0457 798 359 

The organisations are calling on parties to:

  • Expand and better manage Queensland’s national parks to protect wildlife and support tourism and regional development (an additional $55million per year with additional increments in base funding for QPWS to manage new parks as appropriate);
  • Increase investment in the Queensland Indigenous Land and Sea Ranger Program ($47.5 million over four years; 100 new positions);
  • Support nature refuges landholders by expanding and improving the Nature Refuges Program (an additional $24million per year with an annual increment of $4 million to support expansion of the network);
  • Continue investment in the Cape York Tenure Resolution Program.

The Queensland Government's Protected Area Strategy can be found here.