Ask our politicians to back our Outback and invest in Nature Refuges
Third-generation property owners Barry and Tammy Hughes run North Head station in North Queensland. Their property is 75,800 hectares - 18,573 hectares of which is a declared nature refuge.
Barry explains why the program is so important.
"The Nature Refuges program has been a big success for the people who live in, and manage, Outback Queensland. It helps permanently protect the natural values of our land but also allows property owners to continue to graze and earn a living from it.
For us, getting the nature refuge on our property has been a big achievement
But as you can imagine, important work like managing weeds, feral animals or simply maintaining fences to keep stock away from sensitive areas is a huge and costly job on an Outback nature refuge.
After signing up to the program, Tammy and I were initially able to access some modest funding that helped us improve management at North Head.
We constructed fencing and managed ecologically-sensitive areas of the property, and we installed new watering points to keep both cattle and feral animals away from the natural springs and waterholes.
However, since that first round, there’s been no more funding made available - leaving us limited in what we can achieve for conservation.
Over the past five years, the Queensland Government has provided, on average, only 25 cents per hectare to nature refuge landholders to manage their lands, with many landholders receiving no ongoing financial support at all.
Landholders in Outback regions need support. We need boots on the ground in local areas -- people who can provide advice and help achieve conservation and land management goals. We also need financial support to help with the huge job of managing vast areas for conservation."
With over 500 landholders managing 4.4 million hectares, there’s no doubt the Nature Refuges program has huge potential! But landholders like Barry and Tammy can’t be left to do all the work.
Will you add your name to call on the Government to better support nature refuge landholders to care for their land?