Landmark deal to protect 2400ha between Gympie and Noosa
VITAL koala habitat in the Sunshine Coast and Gympie regions will be expanded, with 2400ha of land being protected through a partnership with the State Government, Noosa Shire Council, Noosa Parks Association and HQPlantations.
Making the announcement in Noosa today, Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said the partnership was the first of its kind in Queensland.
"This land is core koala habitat and our partnership will go a long way to protect koala populations in the Noosa area," Ms Enoch said.
"This $3.5 million investment to retire the land from plantation forestry for conservation purposes is being jointly funded by the Department of Environment and Science (DES), Noosa Shire Council and Noosa Parks Association.
"The intention is that the land will eventually be gazetted as National Park to make a significant contribution to growing koala populations in the Noosa Shire area."
Ms Enoch said the area - encompassing Yurol and Ringtail State Forests - was also home to 25 threatened and three nearly threatened species, including the Richmond Birdwing Butterfly, the Mary River Cod and the giant barred frog.
"As the native forests in this area are re-established, this land will become core habitat for koalas," Ms Enoch said.
Ms Enoch said the Palaszczuk Government was committed to protecting koalas and this partnership came in addition to the Government's new Koala Conservation Strategy.
"Earlier this year we accepted all of the recommendations from the Koala Expert Panel report to better address threats to koalas, habitat protection and habitat restoration in south east Queensland," she said,
"We need to work together to protect our koalas. That means all levels of government, industry, the community, and not-for-profit organisations focusing their energy and resources on actions that will make a difference on the ground."
Ms Enoch thanked Noosa Council and the Noosa Parks Association, who brought the idea of this partnership to the Queensland Government eighteen months ago.
"I am thrilled that we can make it happen," Ms Enoch said. "I encourage other local governments to follow Noosa Shire Council's lead in developing proposals like this."
Noosa Shire Mayor Tony Wellington said the project was a big win for koalas, the Noosa community and the people of Queensland"Noosa Council is pleased to be able to work with the State Government, Noosa Parks Association and HQPlantations Pty Ltd to deliver this project," Mr Wellington said.
"This novel partnership deal not only secured more land for conservation purposes, it created an extensive wildlife corridor connecting the Noosa hinterland with the Cooloola section of the Great Sandy National Park.
"As well as benefitting koalas and many other plant and animal species, this project will also be an asset to tourism and the local economy.
"Through this project, HQPlantations are proving themselves to be wonderful corporate citizens, and our local community environment organisation, the Noosa Parks Association, are once again demonstrating their capacity to conceptualise long-term goals."
Noosa Parks Association President Michael Gloster said the association had enjoyed working with the State, Noosa Council and HPQPlantations to reach the agreement.
"The association's half-century quest for a Noosa to Tewantin to Cooloola National Park is now well within reach," Mr Gloster said.
"This is a win for threatened species including koalas, a win for those who enjoy the recreational benefits of nature, and a win for nature-based tourism."