From the President – Summer 23 – National Parks Association of Queensland

From the President – Summer 23

Author: Susanne Cooper

It’s great to start the year with hope and on a positive note. Recently there have been some major advances and progress in protecting our nature and biodiversity. The outcomes of COP 15 is one of these, which saw Australia take a much more proactive and positive role than in previous meetings.

The internationally agreed commitment to protecting roughly a third of the world’s nature by 2030 (30% of land and sea) has the potential to be a game changer.

Australia has also committed to hosting an international summit in 2024 on biodiversity protection called ‘Nature Positive’. Its focus will be on encouraging and guiding private finance to invest in the protection of nature.

The financial models that have driven investment priorities in the past will change as a result of this Summit. Many businesses are interested in investing in nature, as customers, shareholders and government increasingly expect it.

The Summit is anticipated to supercharge business interest and investment in the protection of nature.

The formation of an independent federal Environment Protection Agency is a welcome initiative that will enforce national environmental laws and standards currently being developed, and will require decisions that will improve the environment, not just limit impact.

Clearly this is not a total solution, but part of the progress toward seeing nature as a fundamental and critical asset to our future and well-being.

NPAQ supports the EPA and it’s encouraging that the federal government has taken a more active leadership role in protecting and managing our natural environment. We anticipate this will flow on to the State governments.

A more Queensland specific focus gives us the recent announcement of the 43,000ha additions to our Protected Area estate. Most of these are Nature Refuges, many of which are substantial with one being over 34,000 ha.

Nature Refuges form a significant part of the PA estate (around 1/3), they are an agreement (binding in perpetuity) entered into voluntarily between the landholder and the Minister. *edited from initial article release due to misinformation.

The small additions to the Main Range (56 ha), Lamington (130ha) and the D’Aguilar Range (52 ha) National Parks are welcome. We look forward to further additions over the year.

On a less technical note, I enjoyed immersing myself in nature over the festive season, including stays on Mulgumpin (Moreton Island) and D’Aguilar Range National Parks. I hope many of you had a similar opportunity and experience.

Of course such areas with wonderful beaches and swimming holes always attract high visitation this time of year, which highlights the challenges for management.

Not only for protecting the natural values, but also maintaining the visitor experience. EcoTourism is a key issue for our national parks, and will only increase in scale and priority over the next decade.

I’m looking forward to the year ahead, as I feel it has many opportunities for NPAQ to be a constructive influence and make a very positive contribution into decisions and actions that affect our National Parks.

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