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Special Wildlife Reserves increase protection for environment

Queensland has become the first state in Australia to create Special Wildlife Reserves – a new category of protected areas – to preserve more habitat and increase our protected area estate.

The Palaszczuk Government delivered on another election commitment, with the passage of legislation to better protect land of high conservation value.

Minister for Environment Leeanne Enoch said landowners and organisations who want to voluntarily look after Queensland’s biodiversity are now able to invest in this new class of protected area.

“Special Wildlife Reserves will provide national park level protection for private land of exceptional natural and cultural value,” Ms Enoch said.

“This is another way for landholders to contribute to conserving Queensland’s unique biodiversity, without the need to hand their land over to the State.

“These vital reforms – the first of their kind in Australia – are ensuring ecologically important areas are protected now, and into the future.”

Minister Enoch said Special Wildlife Reserves, which will be established by a voluntary agreement between the Queensland Government and landholders, will help ensure that more habitat is protected for our wildlife, including koalas and other threatened species.

“These Reserves will have the same protections as our National Parks, meaning incompatible land uses like mining and forestry, will not be permitted in them,” she said.

“Management of these Reserves will be in accordance with strict statutory management principles and an approved management regime.

“The Palaszczuk Government will also work in partnership with First Nations peoples in this process, and we will ensure no obligations or restrictions are placed on native title parties that would interfere with the exercise of native title rights.

“Under this legislation, landholders will be able to attract investment from conversation organisations, from Australia and overseas, to support their efforts in managing Special Wildlife Reserves.

“The LNP’s decision to oppose these new environmental protections today is further evidence that they have no plan for preserving Queensland’s unique biodiversity.”

Since being elected in 2015, the Palaszczuk Government has increased the protected area estate in Queensland by more than one million hectares.

“Queensland’s protected area estate now covers more than 8% of the state, which is an area more than twice the size of Tasmania,” Ms Enoch said.

“This important piece of legislation builds on that work.”

More information is available:


The new legislation:

  • Creates a new category of protected area – Special Wildlife Reserves – for privately-owned or managed land, to protect land of outstanding conservation value
  • Ensures Special Wildlife Reserves will have the same protection at National Park
  • Is the first time this type of protection has been implemented in Australia
  • Outlines that Special Wildlife Reserves are voluntary in nature, with private land holders entering a binding agreement with the State to conserve the land
  • Prevents mining and forestry activities on land declared as Special Wildlife Reserves
  • Complements the successful nature refuge class of private protected area, which allows for sustainable land uses to occur alongside environmental land conservation
  • Ensures conservation agreements for special wildlife reserves will contain terms that will ensure that no obligations or restrictions are placed on native title parties which would interfere with the exercise or enjoyment of native title rights

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