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Queensland Government protects integrity of national park system with new conservation legislation
The Queensland Government has passed controversial legislation to protect the State’s national park system that will see the end of cattle grazing in protected areas.
The newly passed Nature Conservation and Other Legislation Amendment (NCOLA) Bill 2015 aims to provide proper management of the national park estate, providing permanent preservation of natural conditions and protection of cultural resources and values.
Queensland Minister for National Parks Dr Steven Miles stated “the new law requires that the management of national parks is to be guided by the primary goal of conserving nature.”
Adding that it is also now a legal requirement that there must be community consultation as part of each park’s individual management plans, Dr Miles explained “we want tourism operators, regional communities and local wildlife experts all to have their voices heard.
“The whole community should be involved in stewardship of these conservation areas.”
Dr Miles said the Bill provided enhanced protection for nine national parks with special values, adding “these areas will now become ‘national parks (scientific)’ ... unique places such as Raine Island where thousands of turtles come to lay their eggs each year are being elevated to the highest level of protection.”
In addition, Dr Miles said the mis-titled ‘rolling-term’ leases for grazing on national parks have been reverted back to ‘term leases’, in line with how those leases have always actually worked.
However, graziers argue that the management of cattle on the leases has maintained conservation values and that without cattle and the day to day management of the graziers, the already disturbed landscape will be subject to greater risk from wild fires, invasive weeds and feral pest animals.
By contrast, the National Parks Association of Queensland (NPAQ) welcomed the additional protection of natural heritage.
NPAQ Conservation Principal Kirsty Leckie stated “Queensland’s protected areas are critical in preventing extinctions of some of the world’s threatened mammals, birds and amphibians.
“National parks are recognised as a key strategy in nature conservation, and NPAQ commends the State Government for restoring the Nature Conservation Act to its primary purpose.”
Dr Miles said Queensland’s spectacular national parks provided unique experiences for Queenslanders and other visitors from across Australia, and overseas.
He concluded “those visitors support tens of thousands of jobs.
“We must set a global standard for protecting these places, so tourists keep coming here safe in the knowledge that they are visiting a state that appreciates and conserves its natural icons.”
Image: Cattler in a national park (top) and the Olkola National Park (below).
18th April 2016 - INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY OPENS OLKOLA NATIONAL PARK TO TOURISM
23rd September 2015 - GULF OF CARPENTARIA TOURISM BOOST FROM WETLANDS PARK
17th June 2015 - QUEENSLAND’S FIRST BATCH OF NATIONAL PARK DECLARATIONS SINCE 2012
23rd March 2015 - VICTORIA GOVERNMENT MOVES TO PROTECT ALPINE NATIONAL PARK
12th October 2014 - NEW TOURISM ACTIVITIES IN NATIONAL PARKS THREATENS NATURAL HERITAGE
13th January 2014 - QUEENSLAND NATIONAL PARK ECOTOURISM PROPOSALS MOVE TO NEXT STAGE
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