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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    JOINT STATEMENT
    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Anna Bligh
    Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability
    The Honourable Kate Jones

    BLIGH GOVERNMENT EXPANDS NATIONAL PARKS BY 60,000 HECTARES TO PROTECT RARE PLANTS AND ANIMALS

    JOINT STATEMENT

    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability
    The Honourable Kate Jones

    Sunday, March 28, 2010

    BLIGH GOVERNMENT EXPANDS NATIONAL PARKS BY 60,000 HECTARES TO PROTECT RARE PLANTS AND ANIMALS

    Premier Anna Bligh has announced four new national parks and expanded another six to give more than 60,000 hectares of the state the greatest possible protection.

    Ms Bligh and Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones, on National Parks Day, said the newly protected area was the equivalent of more than 100,000 football fields and took Queensland’s total national park area well past eight million hectares.

    Premier Bligh said the new and expanded parks were located near Townsville, Cairns, Mackay, Mission Beach, Hughenden, Woodford, St George, Kingaroy, Ingham and Proserpine.

    “National Parks are an essential part of our strategy to manage growth in Queensland,” said Premier Anna Bligh.

    “They ensure that the natural beauty and amazing fauna that Queensland is famous for is preserved to be enjoyed by future generations.

    “These new parks will help protect Queensland’s amazing biodiversity and also help insulate our state against the impacts of climate change.

    “The new protected areas serve as vital habitat corridors and ecosystems for rare, native species including frogs, rock wallabies, cassowaries and many other types of birds.”

    Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones said the new parks would contribute towards the Bligh Government’s 2020 target of achieving 12.9 million hectares (7.5 per cent of the state) of national park.

    “This is a good win for conservation,” Ms Jones said.

    “The new Mount Lewis National Park, about 60 kilometres north-west of Cairns, is the largest addition, covering more than 27,500 hectares,

    “The new Bellthorpe National Park near Woodford will be familiar to four-wheel-drivers, and Woodford festival-goers who like to take a dip in Stony Creek.

    “The 7,550 ha former state forest and forest reserve is on the flanks of the Conondale range accessible from the D’Aguilar Highway between Woodford and Kilcoy

    “There’s a day-use area, beautiful rainforest along the creeks, and wet and dry sclerophyll forests.

    “The park has more than 160 bird species and 17 amphibian species. It’s home to the cascade treefrog and eight other threatened species.”

    Ms Jones said in the south west, 14,048ha of mulga and brigalow forest was protected in the new Narkoola National Park, 20km west of Bollon, near St George on the Balonne Highway.

    “Narkoola is an important area for conservation of 13 regional ecosystems containing several native species including the Major Mitchell Cockatoo,” she said.

    “The new Beeron National Park, located about 75 kilometres north-west of Kingaroy has added 7,003 hectares through the cooperation of two mining companies that held exploration permits over the land.

    “When representations were made to these companies highlighting the conservation values of the land, they agreed to accelerate their investigations and relinquish any continuing interests to allow the land to be dedicated as a national park.

    “Beeron will also improve management of an important catchment area because it adjoins the 70,000 ha Allies Creek State Forest.“

    “An additional 6,500 ha at the Paluma Range National Park near Townsville are also of great significance because the recently discovered Pattersons Gorge Gecko is only found here.”

    Ms Jones said Queensland had the largest national park area of any Australian state or territory.

    “The area covered by national park is now 8.1 million hectares,” she said.

    “That’s a bigger area than Tasmania, and more than a third of the size of Victoria.”

    Full list of new and expanded national parks attached.

    MEDIA CONTACT: 3239 0818

    Full list of new and expanded national parks

    NAME

    AREA ADDED (hectares)

    SIGNIFICANCE

    Mount Lewis National Park, near Cairns (new)

    27,540

    Recorded location of important animal species including the northern bettong (rat-kangaroo) and waterfall frog.

    Narkoola National Park, near St George (new)

    14,048

    Park will protect an area of high biodiversity in a region that has experienced extensive clearing of native vegetation and the introduction of exotic pasture species.

    Thirteen regional ecosystems – three are ‘of concern’

    Bellthorpe National Park, near Woodford (new)

    7,550

    Eleven regional ecosystems- four are “of concern”. Park protects nine threatened species, including the endangered red goshawk and the vulnerable cascade treefrog.

    Beeron National Park, near Kingaroy (new)

    7,003

    Two threatened regional ecosystems not currently represented in the protected area estate.

    Paluma Range National Park, near Townsville

    6,510

    Recently discovered Patterson’s Gorge Gecko.

    White Mountains National Park, near Hughenden

    4,200

    Several species of rare mammals, birds and reptiles have been identified as potentially occurring on regional ecosystems in this area.

    Girringun National Park, near Ingham

    2,810

    Contains essential cassowary habitat and adjoins essential mahogany glider habitat.

    Cape Hillsborough National Park, near Mackay

    204

    Remnant vegetation provides suitable habitat for the endangered northern quoll., the vulnerable Rufous Owl and endemic leaf-tail geckos.

    Clump Mountain National Park, near Mission Beach

    29

    Key cassowary habitat.

    Dryander National Park, near Proserpine

    21

    Essential habitat for the Proserpine Rock-Wallaby has been mapped on the new inclusion areas.