Photo © National Parks Association of Queensland
The announcement today of a Border to Beach wildlife corridor across Queensland to be delivered by a future Labor Government would be a significant leap forward for biodiversity conservation. Wildlife Queensland (WPSQ) and the National Parks Association (NPAQ) applaud the Premier for this visionary initiative.
"Bold, creative and inspirational schemes are few and far between in protecting our wildlife and its habitat. On this occasion, Premier Anna Bligh has outlined one for the benefit of Queenslanders and our unique wildlife" stated Des Boyland, spokesman for Wildlife Queensland.
"The Bligh Government has acknowledged that Queensland is no different to elsewhere in Australia and that biodiversity is in decline. The Government has also recognised that National Parks are the cornerstone of biodiversity conservation and that continued progress in needed to achieve the target of 7.5% of Queensland in National Parks by 2020" said Paul Donatiu, spokesperson for the National Parks Association of Queensland.
"Naturally, Wildlife Queensland and NPAQ would have liked more rapid progress, but credit must be given when credit is due, and recently the rate of acquisition has accelerated" Mr Boyland said.
"Transfer of 400,000 hectares of western hardwoods into National Park will see the percentage of National Park in Queensland rise above 5%, a significant and long-awaited achievement, but still well behind most other states that have 10% National Park or more" Mr Donatiu said.
However, in making this announcement today, the Bligh Labor Government clearly demonstrates an understanding of what is required to arrest this decline in biodiversity. National Parks, significant as they are, are but one part of the answer. Links are required across the landscape.
"This proposal, by working with likeminded landholders, using a range of appropriate crown lands, leveraging State funds and by accessing relevant and available Federal funding, is both practical and extremely cost effective. The broad plan is well conceived and structured. It addresses major threats to species decline, habitat loss and fragmentation of vegetation at regional and landscape scales" Mr Boyland said.
Furthermore this announcement does emphasise that the Bligh Government does listen.
NPAQ and Wildlife Queensland have been lobbying the Government for changes to the legislation concerning Nature Refuges. A commitment to reviewing the level of protection for Nature Refuges is welcome and overdue.
"Nature Refuge landholders have made a multi-generational investment in protecting biodiversity in Queensland. We need to acknowledge and reward this stewardship with a level of protection for Nature Refuges that is commensurate with National Parks. Mining should simply not be allowed on Refuges with high conservation values" Mr Donatiu said.
Both WPSQ and NPAQ recognise the importance of putting in place mechanisms to arrest the decline in biodiversity and deal with projected climate impacts.
"This initiative when delivered would provide sanctuaries required by species to survive the impact of climate change. It is this type of creative thinking, underpinned by political commitment, that is required to win the battle to conserve our unique wildlife and its habitat, to permit the genetic exchange at levels sufficient to sustain flora and fauna and allow ecological processes to continue unabated" Mr Boyland said.
As a web and mosaic of connected parcels of land, Border to Beach will certainly provide some hope that our endangered wildlife can withstand future changes in climate" Mr Donatiu said.
Wildlife Queensland and the National Parks Association strongly endorse the proposal.
Contacts Des Boyland, Wildlife Queensland 07 3221 0194
Paul Donatiu, National Parks Association of Queensland 0428 670 878
For more information on Wildlife Queensland's activities, call us on +61 7 3221 0194 or send us an email.