The LNP commitment of $80 million towards creating new national parks and protected areas on private land would bring a solid boost to the protected area estate, according to agriculture and conservation organisations.
AgForce, Queensland’s peak body for rural producers, and Our Living Outback, an alliance calling for better funding for protected areas and land management, have been advocating for better funding for protected areas on private land.
“It’s excellent to see the LNP lifting the bar on protected area spending.
“We’ve been strongly advocating for better funding for the voluntary private protected area program for many years so that landholders can better protect natural heritage on their land,” said Mike Guerin, CEO, AgForce.
“Because around 80 per cent of the state’s area is held in private ownership or pastoral leases, protected areas or nature refuges on private land offer an unmissable opportunity to protect Queensland’s unique environment at the same time as supporting landholders in the regions to better protect wildlife.
“This is the principle behind our ‘natural capital’ approach to land management that aims to improve environmental outcomes by compensating producers for delivering them on behalf of the community.
The announcement does not include new funding for taking care of new or existing national parks or protected areas on private land through land management work.
“The lack of more funding for land management is a concern because of the need to take better care of those landscapes by tackling feral animals, invasive weeds and destructive fires in national parks and privately protected areas,” Rocco said.
The LNP announcement follows a $60 million ‘down payment’ by the Palaszczuk Government earlier this month that included $28 million for national park acquisition, $8 million for the Private Protected Areas program, and 100 new Indigenous ranger jobs, as well as $6 million announced on Thursday for protected area acquisition in the Great Barrier Reef.
“It’s great to see better funding for national parks, nature refuges and land management jobs getting the attention they deserve from major parties at this critical time,” Rocco said.