Queensland sets the new standard for private land conservation

Laws passed by the Queensland Parliament create a new class of private protected area.

Conservation experts have today welcomed laws passed by the Queensland Parliament to create a new class of private protected area, with levels of protection comparable to a national park.

“Queensland is leading the way on private protected areas in Australia, setting a new standard for protection of wildlife habitat on private land,” said Fiona Maxwell from The Pew Charitable Trusts, spokesperson for the Our Living Outback alliance.

The new class of private protected area — ‘special wildlife reserves’ — will be permanently protected from environmentally harmful activities, including mining and gas development. This level of protection is not yet available in other states.

“Special wildlife reserves are an important addition to Queensland’s conservation tool box that will help to protect native wildlife and sustain the health of our Outback.”

Special wildlife reserves provide national park level protection to private lands of exceptional natural and cultural value. They are a voluntary agreement between the Queensland Government and private landholders who wish to conserve and restore natural values on their land.

“Queensland’s private landholders have been leading the way through the Nature Refuges program. This has seen more than 500 landholders from across the state dedicate their land for conservation, resulting in the largest private protected area network by area in the country.”

“While the contribution of nature refuge landholders is unquestionable, some landscapes require a higher level of protection due to their outstanding conservation and cultural values. Today, the Palaszczuk Government has recognised this.”

“The Queensland Government now needs to increase its investment in private protected areas to ensure that landholders receive support for vital conservation planning, management and monitoring activities on their land,” she concluded.

Notes for editors:

  • Queensland has the largest network of private protected areas in Australia — more than 500 landholders have voluntarily committed to protect 4.4 million hectares of wildlife habitat on their land through the Nature Refuges program.
  • Special wildlife reserves were first proposed in response to public concern about mining impacts on Bimblebox Nature Refuge. Mining, petroleum and forestry activities will not be permitted in special wildlife reserves.
  • The Our Living Outback alliance is working to secure increased investment by the Queensland Government in voluntary private land conservation, including nature refuges and special wildlife reserves.