Protected Area Strategy-Have your say

Media statement- Minister Dr Steven Miles MP

The Palaszczuk Government has released a discussion paper on its draft Protected Area Strategy

Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles said the discussion paper was available online and invited all Queenslanders to have their say on the draft strategy.

“We’re asking the public for their comments on how we can build and manage a diverse and effective protected area system in Queensland,” Dr Miles said.

“Our protected areas include our national parks and privately owned nature refuges, and are recognised for their diversity, flora and fauna, and wonderful scenery.

“Our draft Protected Area Strategy proposes actions to expand and effectively manage Queensland’s protected area system, now and into the future.

“The strategy outlines ways we might do this while conserving representative and resilient samples of Queensland’s biodiversity at the same time as moving towards our goal of having 17 per cent of the state’s total land area as protected areas.”

The Australian Government, on behalf of the States and Territories, is a signatory to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, which has set a 17% target for terrestrial protected areas to improve the status of biodiversity by safeguarding ecosystems, species and genetic diversity.

“At present, Queensland’s land-based protected areas cover almost 8 per cent of the state,” Dr Miles said.

“Protected areas in Queensland are made up of about 70% State lands (owned, managed or jointly managed), such as national parks, while about 30% are protected areas on private land (nature refuges), which are owned and managed by private individuals, businesses and not-for-profit organisations.

“This discussion paper is asking for feedback on how to grow both types of protected areas, and what is an appropriate ratio for State and private protected areas.”

Dr Miles said the Queensland Government remained committed to the sound management of the state’s national parks, saying they were a “critical element” of the government’s vision “to have a world-leading protected area system.”

“Our protected areas are the cornerstone of Queensland’s nature conservation programs as they protect our state’s unique biological diversity, which is increasingly important in the face of a changing climate.

“The state-owned and managed protected areas, such as national parks, are also a major drawcard for domestic and international visitors, and play a vital role in delivering significant economic, recreational, and health and wellbeing benefits to all.”

National Parks Association Qld (NPAQ) president Michelle Prior welcomed the Queensland Government’s strategy.

"Queensland is internationally renowned for its biodiversity and natural beauty, and in need of a clear strategy to deliver a world-class protected area network,” Ms Prior said.

"We welcome the foresight shown in developing a protected area strategy that encompasses the various tenures of conservation lands under the one umbrella.

"National parks and other protected areas deliver Queenslanders many benefits from boosting our economy, providing vital ecosystem services, protecting our natural and cultural heritage and are central to our outdoor lifestyle."

The draft Queensland Protected Area Strategy is available online here

The closing date for public comment is Friday 24 February 2017.