Our Living Outback welcomes 25 000ha addition to Queensland's protected areas

Our Living Outback welcomes Queensland Government legislation passed late last week that registers the extension of six national parks (totalling 5,822 ha) and declares 11 new nature refuges (totalling 19,173 ha).

Our Living Outback spokesperson Riley Rocco said it’s an important step in the right direction.

“We’ve been calling for ambitious growth and better funding for good management of Queensland’s protected areas. This is a good start and we’re keen to see more,” Riley said.

“It’s been a tough time for Queenslanders so it’s great to see some good news.”

Queensland’s national parks estate is now roughly the size of Tasmania. The nature refuge network on private land now totals over 4.47 million ha with a new total of 534 nature refuges in Queensland. 

Rungulla National Park is notable among the park extensions. Totalling 1,563 ha, this outback park in north western Queensland features spectacular sandstone formations including caves and the wide Gilbert River. The park has a diversity of landscapes, ecosystems and a range of important cultural heritage sites on the land of the Ewamian Traditional Owners. The river and permanent springs in the park provide refuges for wildlife, especially as the water holes shrink in the drier months.

Notable among the 9 Nature Refuges established is Caloola Nature Refuge, an incredibly biodiverse new refuge adding 18,072 ha of land forming two landscape corridors of state significance that provide habitat for wildlife movement between surrounding protected areas. 

Caloola is about 15 kilometres south-west of Cooktown and has 20 kilometres of frontage to the Annan River, within the Great Barrier Reef catchment. Professor Stephen Williams, Biodiversity Scientist  from James Cook University, says the area is “the most biodiverse location in Australia”. It is no surprise then, that Caloola is home to at least eight plant and ten animal species that are threatened by extinction or in decline, including a population of at least 80 (endangered)  northern quolls (South Endeavour, Biodiversity survey 2017). Caloola adjoins the Annan River (Yuku Baja-Muliku) National Park, Kings Plains-Alkoomie Nature Refuge, the South Endeavour Nature Refuge and the nearby Black Mountain National Park. The Yuku-Baja-Muliku Aboriginal people are the traditional owners of the area and have a long history of traditional use and occupation here.

The importance of growing Queensland’s protected area estate cannot be overstated.

Queensland has more plant and animal species than any other state in Australia. We’re home to 70% of Australia’s mammals, 80% of its birds and more than 50% of its native reptiles, frogs and plant species. 

The extraordinary diversity of our species and landscapes means we carry an immense responsibility when it comes to nature conservation. 

A growth in well-managed protected areas is one of the best ways to safeguard nature from feral animals, invasive noxious weeds and uncontrolled wildfires. 


National Park extensions 

  • 213 hectares have been added to Byfield NationalPark, about 19 kilometres north of Yeppoon.
  • 3,200 hectares have been added to the existing Expedition National Park, about 118 kilometres north of Roma.
  • 846 hectares have been added as part of the existing Girringun National Park, about 127 kilometres north-west of Townsville.
  • 1,563 hectares have been added and amalgamate this area with the existing Rungulla National Park, about 307 kilometres north-west of Charters Towers.
  • 0.1527 hectares have been added as part of the existing Wooroonooran National Park, about 26 kilometres south-west of Innisfail.


Nature Refuges established

  • 18,072 Ha establish Caloola Nature Refuge 15 kilometres south-west of Cooktown
  • 78.85 hectares establish Ant Plant East Nature Refuge, about 7 kilometres east of Tully.
  • 138.377 hectares establish Ant Plant West Nature, about 7 kilometres east of Tully.
  • 35.47 hectares establish Big Fig Nature Refuge, 20 kilometres south-east of Canungra.
  • 31.81 hectares establish Birthday Trail Nature Refuge, about 20 kilometres south-east of Canungra.
  •  20.53 hectares establish Burnamup Nature Refuge, about 28 kilometres south of Aratula.
  • 37.67 hectares establish Curramore Farm Forest Nature Refuge, about 10 kilometres north-west of Maleny.
  • 7.7263 hectares establish  Feathertail Nature Refuge about 20 kilometres west of Brisbane.
  • 200.9391 hectares establish The Bush Block Nature Refuge, 28 kilometres south of Aratula.
  • 195.4632 hectares establish The Glen Nature Refuge, about 28 kilometres south of Aratula.
  • 353.8823 hectares establish Thornton View Nature Refuge, about 47 kilometres south-east of Toowoomba.