Draft master plan released for protected areas, forests and wildlife in Queensland

A NEW master plan which maps out the future of Queensland's natural environment over the next decade was released for consultation by the Queensland Government this week.

The draft master plan, Naturally Queensland 2020, is a blueprint that aims to address the challenges facing the state's protected areas and forests over the next 10 years.

Environment Minister Vicky Darling released the plan today, calling it an evolution of the 2001 Master Plan for Queensland's national parks system that outlines the government's comprehensive approach to managing land and seas and wildlife over the next decade.

When complete, the new master plan will guide the way the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) manages national parks, replacing the existing 2001 Master Plan.

Targets outlined in the plan include:

  • The establishment of Friends of National Parks groups at four national parks and reinvigoration of the QPWS volunteers program by 2013;
  • The availability of Connect with Nature school holiday programs at all popular/high profile parks by 2013;
  • The completion of Statements of Management Intent for all National Parks by 2012;
  • Publication of a State of the Parks report by 2015;
  • The completion of a management plan or statement of management intent for all protected areas by 2015; and
  • A contribution to a net gain in either mature or actively regenerating koala bushland habitat in South-east Queensland by 2020.

"[The Master Plan] responds directly to a much more diverse and challenging environment we face now and will continue to face into the future – an environment that has been characterised in recent years by drought and then floods and cyclones," Ms Darling said.

"This is an overarching plan, going beyond the actual National Parks network and into other areas of Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service business, including marine parks, forests and wildlife management."

Ms Darling while it is a challenging time for conservation, with population expansion, natural disasters and climate change, the plan helps to focus the government's response to such challenges and highlight the actions that will be taken.

A draft of the revised Master Plan is open for public consultation until 20 November 2011. More information is available from the Department of Environment and Resource Management website at <http://www.derm.qld.gov.au/>.

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