Queensland Government continues to grow state’s protected areas estate

Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for Multicultural Affairs The Honourable Leanne Linard
  • The Palaszczuk Government has recently finalised the purchase of two parcels of land to grow Queensland’s National Parks estate.
  • Around 8000 hectares of land purchased near Hughenden will be used to create Queensland’s newest national park, while 250 hectares was purchased to expand Lockyer National Park near Gatton.
  • Queensland’s National Parks estate has grown by more than 12,500 hectares this year (not including the recent purchases).

The Palaszczuk Government has recently finalised the purchase of around 8000 hectares of land near Hughenden which will form part of Queensland’s newest National Park.

The land, part of Pretty Plains station, adjoins another property, The Lakes, which was purchased by the government in 2022 and will also be included in the new National Park.

Similar to The Lakes acquisition, the purchase of part of Pretty Plains was supported by a co-investment contribution from international philanthropic organisation, the Wyss Foundation, which was brokered by The Nature Conservancy.

The Palaszczuk Government has also purchased around 250 hectares of land to expand Lockyer National Park in South East Queensland.

The property is surrounded on three sides by Lockyer National Park and was identified as a priority acquisition to consolidate the existing park boundary and to expand protected koala conservation lands.

So far in 2023, the size of Queensland’s national parks estate has grown by more than 12,500 hectares, including –

  • Homevale National Park, south-west of Mackay, has grown by 4,970 hectares
  • Great Sandy National Park, from Noosa North Shore to east of Bundaberg and including K’gari, has grown by 2,795 hectares
  • Wrattens National Park, near Gympie, has grown by 2,280 hectares;
  • Pinnacles National Park, south-west of Townsville, has grown by 1,760 hectares;
  • Castle Tower National Park, south of Gladstone, has grown by 765 hectares.

As of 1 August 2023, Queensland’s terrestrial protected areas, including nature refuges, covered more than 14.5 million hectares or 8.38% of the state’s total land area.

Quotes attributable to the Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Leanne Linard:

“Queensland is recognised as a global biodiversity hotspot, with 50 per cent of species who make their home in our state found nowhere else on the planet.

“Many of these species live within our network of national parks, conservation parks, special wildlife reserves and nature refuges, so its vital these areas are protected.

“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to protecting, conserving and expanding areas of high environmental value across the state.

“The 2023/24 Budget included $30.6 million for land acquisitions to expand our network of protected areas. This investment is part of the historic commitment of $262.5 million made in last year’s budget.

“More than 14.5 million hectares across Queensland are now protected under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 in various forms. That’s an area more than twice the size of Tasmania.

“Protected areas are crucial in ensuring the future of Queensland’s unique ecosystems and biodiversity and we will continue to grow our protected areas in line with Queensland’s Protected Area Strategy 2020-2030.”

Quotes attributable to Alison Rowe, Managing Director, The Nature Conservancy Australia

“The Nature Conservancy, with support from the Wyss Foundation and the Art into Acres initiative through Re:wild, is proud to support the Queensland Government in the long-term protection of Pretty Plains.

“The purchase of Pretty Plains adjoins and complements the previous acquisition of The Lakes (35,300 ha) which contain stunning and nationally-important perched wetlands.”

“The area contains a variety of endangered and under-reserved ecosystems, including woodlands, wetlands and riverine corridors, and important habitat for the threatened Northern Greater Glider.”

Quotes attributable to Dr Haley Mellin, Founder, Art Into Acres:

“The ecosystem has very high species richness, and the riparian areas, forests and woodlands on the Great Dividing Range are key wildlife refugia and corridors of State significance.”

“It is an honour to support 43,330 hectares being added in total to the protected area of this region.”

Quotes attributable to Molly McUsic, President, The Wyss Foundation

“The Wyss Foundation is proud to support the efforts of Indigenous Peoples and local communities in Queensland working to protect, manage and sustain wildlife and wild places.”

“The purchase and protection of this incredible property illustrates how local communities across Australia are contributing to the global goal of protecting at least 30 percent of the Earth’s lands and ocean by 2030.”

Quotes attributable to Dr James Fitzsimons, Senior Advisor, Global Protection strategies, The Nature Conservancy

“Together, The Lakes and Pretty Plains conservation areas make an important contribution to Australia’s efforts to achieve 30% protection of lands and oceans by 2030.”

“Nations around the world have recently committed to increasing the protection of areas of high importance for biodiversity. Pretty Plains and The Lakes are great examples of this effort.”

Quotes attributable to Susanne Cooper, President of the National Parks Association of Queensland Inc:

“The National Parks Association of Queensland is delighted with the latest announcement of the expansion of Queensland’s national parks and supports the State Government’s efforts and vision for the continued growth of protected areas in Queensland.

“The Association is Queensland’s oldest non-government environmental organisation, celebrating 93 years of advocacy for Queensland’s protected areas.

“Since 1930, the Association has bought together people who share an appreciation for national parks and other protected areas.

“These protected areas play a vital role in conserving our unique natural environment, providing essential habitat for native flora and fauna, and giving everyone the opportunity to appreciate and enjoy our natural wonderlands.

“We look forward to a continued productive collaboration with the Queensland Government, to help grow, care for and connect people to the state’s protected areas.”

/Public Release. View in full here.