QLD 'Deserves Better': Cattle Stations To Be Turned Into National Parks

In a contentious move, the Queensland Government continues to ramp up its efforts to increase the number of the state's protected areas, purchasing multi-million dollar cattle stations in a bid to meet ambitious conservation goals.

Earlier this year the government purchased three extensive working cattle stations: Tonkoro near Longreach, Melrose Station near Winton, and the historic Vergemont Station, which alone is larger than the Australian Capital Territory.

The acquisition was supported by a $21 million anonymous donation, brokered by US-based environmental organisation Nature Conservancy.

At the time, Minister for the Environment Leanne Linard, said thanks to the acquisition of Toronko and Melrose Stations more than 200,000 hectares of land would be added to Queensland's Protected Areas Estate.

"(The) properties contain regional ecosystems and biodiversity values which are either not represented, or are under-represented, in Queensland's existing protected area estate," she said.

"Queensland is recognised as a global biodiversity hotspot, with 50 per cent of species who make their home in our state found nowhere else on the planet. That's why it's essential that we protect areas of high environmental value across the state."

Stephen Andrew, One Nation Member for Mirani, has since lashed out at the Government's move.

"Our cashed up Environment Minister (has) embarked on a furious shopping spree, snapping up some of the most productive, privately-owned grazing lands in Queensland," he said.
The latest initiative follows Labor's 2022 announcement to raise Queensland's protected areas target to 17 per cent by 2030, with a whopping $262.5 million allocated in funding.

More than 15 million hectares or 8.59 per cent of Queensland are already protected under the state's Nature Conservation Act 1992 - an area twice the size of Tasmania.

Achieving 17 per cent by 2030, would mean doubling that area in less than six years.

While the state's protected network now boasts more than 1,000 national parks, five World Heritage sites, five significant wetland areas, and a special Wildlife Reserve covering more than 4.47 million hectares, "access to these areas is now increasingly restricted, with a growing number closed to the public altogether", Mr Andrew said.

According to the MP there is "also a real danger of Labor raising that 17 per cent target to match Albanese's national target of 30 per cent by 2030".

"(This is) a prospect that should alarm Queenslanders everywhere," Mr Andrew said.

"A target of 30 per cent in Queensland would mean setting up a protected area system the size of Spain.

"There has been no vote, no public consultation, no public or parliamentary debate on this massive expansion of protected areas in Queensland.

"Queenslanders deserve better, and it's time they started to demand it."

The recent purchase of the three cattle stations south of Mount Isa, which will now be withdrawn from production, aims to create a massive 1.5 million hectare protected corridor across Queensland's Channel Country - a move also slammed by farmers.

A local pastoralist, who didn't want to be named, told the North West Star the Government was showing "no respect for those putting the food on the table".

"Clearly the Government thinks it's more important to protect the land than growing food for Australians and supporting the economy with exports.

"Apparently farming isn't considered necessary to today's enlightened politicians."

Only in May Queensland Premier Steven Miles talked up the state's farming potential.

"Queensland is Australia's premier food bowl and there's no better example than our beef industry," he said at the time.

"Queensland is home to almost half Australia's cattle herd and beef is our most valuable agricultural export, worth some $7.1 billion a year.

"Beef produced in Queensland is consumed in more than 60 countries around the world and it's little wonder as it's the best-tasting, cleanest and greenest beef in the world.

"Our beef industry is worth $10 billion a year and supports 40,000 jobs."

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  • One Nation
    published this page in News 2024-07-11 16:38:58 +1000