CLIMATE Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones yesterday released Queensland's first ever Biodiversity Strategy that aims to provide a whole-of-state blueprint for ensuring the conservation of wildlife and natural areas.
Ms Jones said that actions now will help protect wildlife and natural ecosystems from the impacts of climate change and population growth. "We want to ensure that future generations will still be able see unique animals like the cassowary thriving in the wild, to explore diverse rainforests in places like the World Heritage-listed Springbrook National Park and to swim through the beautiful underwater paradise that is the Great Barrier Reef," Ms Jones said.
"This draft strategy released today provides targets and proposed actions for the protection of priority threatened species, the expansion of habitat and the building of nature's resilience in sensitive ecosystems."
The strategy has two main goals: (1) reverse the decline in biodiversity; and (2) increase the resilience of species, ecosystems and ecological processes.
Ms Jones said the strategy identifies key threats to Queensland's biodiversity and proposes a plan of action for both government and the broader community.
Priority actions and targets in the draft strategy include:
- Identifying areas of Unallocated State Land with high conservation values to be transferred to the protected areas estate;
- Cooperatively establishing nature refuges on Aboriginal freehold land through continued commitment to the Cape York Tenure Resolution process;
- Creating a Master Plan for Queensland's Protected Area System, supported by a strategic plan that achieves key targets for protected area and wildlife management;
- Delivering a framework to ensure we achieve the goals set under the Q2 Green target of increasing our protected area estate by 50 percent by 2020;
- Investing additional funding in fire management programs for critical ecosystems in parks and forests;
- Developing new partnerships with industry for protection of iconic species, modelled on the Queensland Government's Northern Hairy Nosed Wombat partnership with Xstrata;
- Maintaining the total extent of Queensland's remnant vegetation above 138 million hectares; and
- Expanding volunteer programs such as a Friends of National Parks network.
The strategy, titled 'Building nature's resilience: a draft biodiversity strategy for Queensland' is available at the Department of Environment and Resource Management website at <http://www.derm.qld.gov.au/>. Submissions on the strategy will be open until March 18 2011.