The Queensland Protected Area Strategy 2020-30 was released Saturday 3 October 2020, three days before the Queensland Government went into pre-election caretaker mode. The Strategy aims to protect Queensland’s world-class natural and cultural values and includes a strong emphasis on working in partnership with Indigenous people. It comes with a $60 million over 4 years “down payment” including:
- $28 million for more national parks and other public protected areas
- $8 million for more nature refuges and special wildlife reserves
- Funding to double the Indigenous Land and Sea Ranger Program to 200 rangers, and
- $5.2 million would also be invested to continue the Revitalising National Parks program.
The investment is a fraction of what is needed on an annual basis to make solid progress on growing our national parks. Queensland has only 8.2% of land protected areas (of which only 5.2% is national park), less than half the State and international goal of 17%. The Queensland government proposes to leverage innovative funding models to provide substantial follow up investment to implement this ambitious strategy. A $60 million dollar commitment, though a promising start, is a long way from the required dollars if we are to take the Queensland government’s resolve seriously.
The Strategy encourages partnerships with First Nations peoples to deliver the best Care for Country through traditional knowledge and expertise, and introduces new co-stewardship arrangements. It also proposes enhanced fire management to better protect our communities, wildlife and vegetation from extreme weather events, and the creation of new and enhanced nature tourism opportunities and visitor experiences, including visitor centre upgrades.
In addition to further investment, NPAQ will be following up with the Minister, and senior bureaucrats seeking targets, timeframes, accountabilities, a Steering Committee and explicit inclusion of the Cardinal Principle for National Parks into the Implementation Plan.
A report on the economic value of national parks to the tourism industry was also released.
For more information see NPAQ’s helpful fact guide on national parks.