The Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) has welcomed the Queensland LNP’s announcement to deliver a new protected area fund as a positive first step in recognising the practical conservation work farmers undertake on their land.
The announcement includes an additional $20 million per year from July 2021 to increase Queensland’s protected area estates but does not specify how the $20 million a year will be allocated between national parks and voluntary protected areas on private land.
QFF CEO Dr Georgina Davis said Queensland had the largest private protected area network in Australia, with over 500 landholders managing a total of 4.5 million hectares for conservation through the Nature Refuges Program.
“Queensland farmers play an essential role as responsible land managers, actively engaging in managing wildlife habitat on their land through activities including weed control, feral animal control, provision of wildlife corridors and replanting native trees,” Dr Davis said.
“However, farmers currently receive less than 25 cents per hectare for their efforts. This announcement to investment in private protected areas presents an opportunity to achieve much-needed conservation outcomes in partnership with landholders, for the benefit of all Queenslanders.”
“With broad support from landholders, farming and pastoral bodies, natural resource management, aboriginal and conservation organisations; further funding will be needed for future program expansion and delivery so as not to compromise its potential.”
“QFF is encouraging all political parties to match this funding announcement to conserve important environmental and biodiversity values while ensuring the sustainable and productive use of farming land.”