New protected areas announced for Gulf country, Wet Tropics, central Queensland and the South-East.

The Australian Conservation Foundation has welcomed the Palaszczuk Government’s significant expansion of protected areas across Queensland and called on the federal government to re-establish funding for National Reserve System priority acquisitions.

The 366,000 hectares of new or expanded protected areas announced today are in the Gulf country, the Wet Tropics, central Queensland and the South East.

“Habitat for rare and threatened species including the Cassowary, Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby, Glossy Black-cockatoo, and Northern Quoll and many other species will be protected as a result of today’s announcement,” said ACF’s Northern Australia Campaigner, Andrew Picone.

“Celebrated for their beauty, Queensland’s national parks are integral in protecting Australia’s biodiversity, storing carbon and help to provide clean air and water. They underpin Queensland’s $23 billion tourism industry and support thousands of jobs.

“These new and critically important protected areas were made possible through Commonwealth investment under the National Reserve System program, originally established in 1992. But in 2012, this funding was merged with the Biodiversity Fund, which was completely scrapped under the Abbott Government by 2013.

“Importantly, these announcements help to protect high priority and under-protected landscapes and build Australia’s resilience to climate change.

“While national parks are vital for protecting ecosystems, ACF strongly encourages Australia’s governments to work with Traditional Owners in managing the protected area estate and continue working towards equitable models of joint management.

“Government investment in acquisition and management of protected areas delivers tangible social returns across some of Australia’s most remote regions,” Mr Picone said. 

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