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    Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability
    The Honourable Kate Jones

    CASSOWARIES THE BIG WINNERS AS NATIONAL PARKS EXPANDED

    Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability
    The Honourable Kate Jones

    Friday, June 25, 2010

    CASSOWARIES THE BIG WINNERS AS NATIONAL PARKS EXPANDED

    Cassowaries have come out the big winners as a new national park is created and a further seven expanded in north and far north Queensland.

    Acting Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk today joined the Member for Barron River Steve Wettenhall at Barron Gorge National Park to announce more than 7,650 hectares worth of new national parks areas in the north.

    Among them is the new Macalister Range National Park, part of the Wet Tropics Heritage Area about 25 kilometres north west of Cairns, covering more than 5,000 hectares of important cassowary habitat.

    “This is good news for an iconic Australian bird and the many people who have been working hard to ensure its survival,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

    “Another four of the new protected areas also serve as vital habitat corridors and ecosystems for cassowaries and other rare, native species.”

    Ms Palaszczuk said the announcement was the latest in the Bligh Government’s series of national park expansions in Queensland.

    “Creating new national park is the greatest possible protection we can give our most valuable natural environment and we’ve just added the equivalent of 10,720 soccer pitches to Queensland’s protected area,” she said.

    Mr Wettenhall said the creation of the Macalister Range National Park was a huge win for the iconic cassowary.

    “I’m delighted that more of this unique bird’s habitat has been locked up forever. There’s still a lot that needs to be done to protect the cassowary but this announcement is a huge boost,” he said.

    “This protection is a very important piece in the puzzle of a series of State Government initiatives to secure the future of the cassowary.”

    Ms Palaszczuk said the latest gazettal meant more land of high biodiversity value was protected for future generations.

    “It gives some of our vulnerable species a better chance of survival against the impacts of climate change,” she said.

    “In addition to Macalister Range National Park, cassowary habitat will also be protected by the addition of five hectares to Barron Gorge National Park and half a hectare to Kuranda National Park near Cairns, and 13 hectares to Japoon National Park near Mission Beach.

    Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt welcomed another important dedication in the Wet Tropics with the addition of almost 1,500 hectares to Girringun National Park near Ingham.

    “This will improve park boundary management and will help protect the endangered mahogany glider — most of the added land is mahogany glider habitat. Girringun also contains essential cassowary habitat,” Mr Pitt said.

    Ms Palaszczuk said the area covered by national park in Queensland was now over eight million hectares and Queensland had the largest national park area of any Australian state or territory.

    “National parks are an essential part of our strategy to manage growth in Queensland,” she said.

    The new parks will contribute towards the Bligh Government's 2020 target of achieving 12.9 million hectares (7.5 per cent of the state) of national park.

    25 June, 2010
    MEDIA CONTACT: 3239 0824

    The new and expanded national parks include:

    NAME

    AREA ADDED (hectares)

    SIGNIFICANCE

    Macalister Range National Park, near Cairns (new)

    5,563

    Part of Wet Tropics Forest transfers process. Cassowary habitat. World Heritage Area.

    Girringun National Park, near Ingham

    1,460

    Will significantly improve park boundary management. The majority of the added land is classified mahogany glider habitat. Partly within World Heritage area. Also contains essential cassowary habitat.

    Paluma Range National Park, near Ingham

    361

    Cassowary and mahogany glider habitat. Improved park management boundary. Adjoins World Heritage Area.

    Bowling Green Bay National Park, near Ayr

    228

    Listed in the Directory of Important Wetlands.

    Eungella National Park, near Mackay

    25

    The Eungella torrent frog (endangered), Eungella honeyeater (rare) and Eungella tinker frog (rare) have all been recorded within the general area. Lot 2 forms a wildlife corridor between Eungella National Park and Crediton State Forest.

    Japoon National Park, near Mission Beach

    13

    Mapped cassowary habitat. Forms part of the summit for Mt Myrtle and provides watershed protection for Mt Myrtle section of Walter Hill Range.

    Barron Gorge National Park, near Cairns

    4

    Approximately 50% of this addition is mapped as cassowary habitat.

    Kuranda National Park, near Kuranda

    0.5

    Cassowary habitat; buffer between coastal development and Kuranda National Park.