24 Oct 2020
$80 MILLION TO EXPAND NATIONAL PARKS IS A WELCOME BOOST FOR WILDLIFE AND NATURE
The LNP’s commitment of $80 million to expand national parks and protected areas is a step in the right direction to securing the health and future of Queensland’s unique wildlife and nature.
The Queensland Conservation Council, Australian Conservation Foundation and WWF-Australia have welcomed the LNP’s commitment to invest a minimum of $80 million in expanding national parks and private reserves.
“Committing $80 million over four years for new public and private protected areas is a good boost toward meeting state targets by doubling Queensland’s protected area estate,” said Andrew Picone, Queensland Conservation Council’s Protected Areas Program Coordinator.
"The LNP have shown leadership in the past on national parks and private protected areas, and it's good to see the party raising the funding bar today.
“It is great to see recognition of the importance of protected areas to our threatened wildlife and the importance of securing habitat for species such as the koala,” said Picone.
WWF-Australia conservation scientist Dr Stuart Blanch said today’s announcement was a great start, but further investment was needed.
“The commitment to expand protected areas is good news for vulnerable wildlife including koalas, eco-tourism jobs and the many Queenslanders wanting more nature-based experiences,” said Dr Blanch.
“A commitment of at least $20 million each year is a welcome start, but we need to see investment of at least $135 million a year to restart progress on delivering a world class protected area system that protects 17% of the state.
“Queensland is home to more plant and animal species than any state or territory in Australia, but it currently protects the least proportion of land at just 8.2%,” said Dr Blanch.
“The LNP’s commitment needs to emphasise improving engagement with First Nations people for protected area expansion and management across the state,” added Picone.
“The addition of measurable targets for expansion and management will also be critical elements for this LNP election commitment to be effective.”
Twelve environment organisations released a position statement in April 2018 titled ‘Building a world leading protected area system for Queensland’ that set out funds needed to achieve minimum protection targets.
According to a recent study, national parks generated $2.7 billion in spending and supported over 17,000 jobs, mostly in regional Queensland (pre COVID-19).
“Despite the importance of national parks to the State’s economy, Queensland governments routinely fail to properly fund the management and expansion of the protected areas in a way that is commensurate with their economic values,” said Picone.