The Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing (NPSR) annual 2016-17 Annual Report shows work is underway to transform Queensland’s parks into ecotourism drawcards. Acting National Parks Minister Mick de Brenni said the department was focused on revitalising key visitor and tourism destinations.
“Queensland’s national parks are truly world class,” Mr de Brenni said.
“From world famous beaches, to ancient tropical rainforests, red sandy deserts and the largest coral reef in the world.
“We have five natural World Heritage Areas, and Queenslanders visit our national parks 51 million times a year.
“The Government thinks Queensland should be the eco-tourism capital of the country.
“This is in stark contrast to the former Newman-Nicholls LNP government. They tried to trash our national parks, opening them up for inappropriate commercial development, removing ‘conservation’ as the sole object of the Nature Conservation Act and then allowed rolling term leases for grazing on national parks.
“We have reinstated these important protections and we are proving we can invest in our parks to create tourism jobs while protecting them.
“And thanks to our dedicated rangers, we managed to get most of our parks and forests reopened within three months of Tropical Cyclone Debbie making landfall, which was an excellent achievement.
“We’re also restoring the ranger workforce after the savage cuts inflicted by the LNP.
“The LNP slashed $10 million from the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service salaries budget in 2012. That meant QPWS had around 60 fewer active and paid rangers in 2014 while the non-ranger workforce in QPWS was cut by 25%.”
The Minister said the department was also focused on progressing the Protected Area Strategy and joint national park management arrangements with Traditional Owners in the North Stradbroke Island area and on Cape York Peninsula Aboriginal land national parks.
“Revitalising national parks and enhancing nature-based recreational opportunities is a priority, as is protecting the natural and cultural values of our national parks,” Mr de Brenni said.
“In the last year, the department has also delivered significant infrastructure to improve the visitor experience, including stage one of the Daisy Hill Koala Bushland Action Plan, which is almost complete.
“The department will also continue to implement its action plan under the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan, which includes the Raine Island recovery project to help protect green sea turtles.
“We will continue to invest in our national parks to make them world-class tourist destinations, and preserve them for many generations to come.”
Key points from the NPSR annual report:
- $12.8 million in conservation and compliance funding as part of the $17.2 million Great Barrier Reef Joint Field Management Program
- $24.2 million in infrastructure and plant and equipment to support visitor experience to national parks
- Almost $9 million for fire management
- $8.4 million for pest management