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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    JOINT STATEMENT
    Premier and Minister for Trade
    The Honourable Peter Beattie
    Minister for Environment and Multiculturalism
    The Honourable Lindy Nelson-Carr

    WORLD’S LARGEST GREEN TURTLE ROOKERY GIVEN HIGHEST PROTECTION STATUS

    JOINT STATEMENT

    Premier and Minister for Trade
    The Honourable Peter Beattie

    Minister for Environment and Multiculturalism
    The Honourable Lindy Nelson-Carr

    Wednesday, August 22, 2007

    WORLD’S LARGEST GREEN TURTLE ROOKERY GIVEN HIGHEST PROTECTION STATUS

    The world’s largest known green turtle rookery, at Raine Island off Cape York Peninsula, will be safeguarded following an historic National Park (Scientific) agreement between the Queensland Government and traditional owners.

    Raine Island becomes just the eighth area in Queensland to be granted National Park (Scientific) status and the first for six years.

    “In practical terms that means only those people with permission to monitor or study this vital turtle rookery will now have access to the fragile island,” Mr Beattie said.

    “This status is only granted to areas to protect species or habitats of exceptional scientific value.

    “Other areas declared as National Park (Scientific) include the Epping Forest National Park which is the only known location of the northern hairy nose wombat and the Taunton National Park which is home to the bridled nail-tailed wallaby.

    “Not only does Raine Island have the largest known green turtle rookery in the world with tens of thousands of turtles coming to lay their eggs each year, it’s home to the endangered herald petrel bird and the vulnerable red-tailed tropic bird and is arguably the most significant seabird rookery on the Great Barrier Reef,” Mr Beattie said.

    “By upgrading Raine Island from Nature Refuge status to National Park (Scientific), we are preserving its special values and adjacent cays and ensuring nature conservation research can continue.”

    The Queensland Government has signed an historic new Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander traditional owners - the Wuthathi people from Shelbourne Bay who identify as native title holders and the traditional owners of the area, and the Erubam Le of Darnley Island, the Ugarem Le of Stephen Island and Meriam Le of Murray Island, who identify as the Torres Strait native title holders of the area.

    Environment Minister Lindy Nelson-Carr said the Environmental Protection Agency negotiated the ILUA with the stakeholders in a process convened through the National Native Title Tribunal.

    “The agreement recognises the Traditional Owners connection to the place and respects the need to jointly manage and conserve Raine Island and its surrounds,” Ms Nelson-Carr said.

    “The Traditional Owners will work with the Queensland Government to manage and conserve the island’s values and they have agreed not to take any flora or fauna from the national park, while allowing for a limited take of fish and invertebrates from the surrounding three nautical mile zone.

    “The EPA will be able to continue its successful monitoring and conservation of the tens of thousands of green turtles that come ashore on the island each year to nest.”

    The island’s previous status as a Nature Refuge did not afford the highest available protection under Queensland law, or restrict the level of visitation from passing boats and ships or film crews.

    “Because all forms of human activity on Raine Island disturb the breeding colonies of sea-birds and turtles, it was vital that access be limited to scientific and essential management purposes and only then on a permit basis,” Ms Nelson-Carr said.

    Photographs and other information on Raine Island are available:
    http://www.epa.qld.gov.au/about_the_epa/media_room/raine_island_national_park_scientific/

    Media contact:
    Premier’s Office – 3224 4500
    Minister’s Office - 3224 7468
    Note Wuthathi is pronounced WOOT-AR-TEE