NPAQ Response to 2019/2020 Devastating Bushfires – National Parks Association of Queensland

March 2020

For more than a century Queensland’s national parks and other protected areas have enjoyed the continuous support of all governments. We value these beautiful, irreplaceable places, rich in biological and cultural values, that support our unique wildlife. They are part of our identity and inspire us. These areas become increasingly valuable as natural areas are put under pressure from development, under resourcing, increased access, climate change and natural disasters.

The bushfires crisis focussed attention on how fragile our special places and rural communities are. The increasing intensity of droughts, storms and fires requires a renewed effort to better resource and balance management of our rural and natural infrastructure. Our national parks and other protected areas are an integral component of this approach.

Bushfires are tenure blind and burn across the landscape regardless of who manages the land. A strategic landscape approach is needed that develops a mosaic of burnt and fuel reduced areas at a scale that reflects Queensland’s major geographic areas. Most national parks have a strategic fire network mapped and maintained, and rangers liaise with neighbours, but this is of limited value within the scale of recent bushfires. An integrated fire management approach across land tenures is needed which balances the need to protect rural communities and our remaining ecosystems and wildlife. This requires government leadership with real input from major interested sectors including fire management agencies, conservation, agriculture and forestry and Traditional Owners as well as business (large and small), health, finance and insurance.

NPAQ seeks to gain broad community support for the better resourcing of national parks and other protected areas to ensure that they are able to play their part in landscape scale fire management whilst protecting their intrinsic natural and cultural values. There is no coming back from extinction!

Investment in national parks enables effective land management for conservation and including fire management, but also brings people to these special areas where their spending supports rural and regional communities. National parks are a major attraction to most visitors to Australia and Queensland in particular.

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