Protected areas joint statement – National Parks Association of Queensland

NPAQ has joined with Queensland’s leading environment groups to warn that Queensland’s status as the most wildlife-rich state in Australia is now seriously at risk, and immediate action is needed to grow and better manage the state’s protected areas and national parks.

The groups have released a six-point plan (below) for urgent state government action on protected areas. The complete joint statement is available here.

Despite having the biggest diversity of plant and animal species of any Australian state, we are coming last when it comes to safeguarding our natural treasures.

Queensland has long suffered from under-investment in conservation and land management, with only around 8% of its land area protected—the lowest proportion of Australia’s states and territories.

As Queenslanders we are lucky to live in one of the most wildlife-rich places on the planet. But this could all be at risk if we don’t take action to better protect our unique natural and cultural heritage. Protected areas are widely recognised as one of the most effective approaches to the conservation of nature. They provide a generous return on public investment by supporting tourism, public health, recreation benefits and other ecosystem services like clean air and water.

Six-point plan for Queensland’s protected areas:

Strengthen the laws

    • Amend the Nature Conservation Act 1992 to ensure the primary purpose of national parks is the protection of natural and cultural resources.
    • Pass the Nature Conservation (Special Wildlife Reserves) Bill 2018 to create a new class of private protected area which is protected from mining, logging and grazing.
    • Proactively phase out grazing leases in national parks.

Grow and better manage our national parks

    • Invest $56 million per year for improved on-ground management in our existing national parks.
    • Invest $55 million per year for acquisition of new parks, with matching increments in funding for the Queensland Parks Wildlife Service to manage added parks as needed.

Grow private protected areas

    • Invest $10 million a year over four years to grow the Nature Refuges footprint and provide more support to landholders to better manage their lands.

Support Indigenous land management

    • Invest in the Indigenous Land and Sea Ranger program by creating 200 new ranger positions over the next ten years.

Restore land to traditional owners and create new protected areas

    • Invest $10 million a year over five years (2019-2024) to extend the Cape York Tenure Resolution Program beyond its current end date of June 2019.
    • Maximize opportunities for jointly-managed areas and extend the Cape York Tenure Resolution Program model, or similar, as part of a broader strategy to support Indigenous conservation approaches.

Fund our protected areas

    • Increase capital funding for protected areas to a level more consistent with their important contribution to Queensland’s economy, environment and lifestyle.
    • Allocate $50 million a year over three years from the waste levy to contribute to protected areas.
    • Exploring options for raising additional revenue through mechanisms such as a bushland preservation levy.

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