Nature refuge landholders tell MPs they need more
This statement has been signed by 44 nature refuge landholders representing 68 nature refuges and 2,008,279 hectares of Queensland's protected area estate.
As Nature Refuge landholders, we are concerned that the potential of the Nature Refuge Program is being compromised by a lack of adequate financial or on-the-ground support to Nature Refuge landholders to manage our land and protect some of Queensland's most incredible landscapes.
The Queensland Nature Refuges program is a voluntary conservation program for private landholders who wish to protect the natural and cultural values for future generations by dedicating part or all of their land for conservation. Nature Refuge landholders range from owners of small coastal lifestyle properties to graziers on large pastoral stations, nature conservancies, for-profit corporations and indigenous Traditional Owners.
Over the past decade more than 500 landholders, and the dedicated program officers who have worked to support them in establishing their refuges, have successfully grown the Nature Refuges program into the largest private protected area network in the country by area, covering a total area of more than 4.4 million hectares across the state.
But managing your land as a Nature Refuge requires a significant responsibility both in terms of time and money needed to deal with land management issues like weeds, uncontrolled fires and feral pests. We fear that funding for the program hasn't kept pace with the growth of the program, placing a burden on landholders and impacting the program's ability to protect landscapes. This burden falls heaviest on those landholders in Outback Queensland managing some of the state's largest nature refuges - often with limited access to support.
The consequence of under-investment in the program is that many landholders are not able to access technical and financial support for vital conservation planning, management and monitoring activities on their land. This not only leaves a significant burden on landholders wanting to protect wildlife, but also leads to increased risk of failed or insufficient land management as we struggle to keep up.
A recent analysis of the Nature Refuges program found that over the past five years, the Queensland Government has provided, on average, less than 25 cents per hectare annually to nature refuge landholders to manage their lands for nature, with many landholders receiving no ongoing financial support at all.
In 2017-2018 the Queensland Government's total expenditure on the Nature Refuges Program was approximately $4.6 million. By comparison, the NSW Government is investing $247 million over the next four years to support private landholders to protect and conserve natural values on their land.
The Nature Refuges Program is already a wonderful example of individuals and communities taking significant action at their own cost to care for nature on their land. However, with a little more support, the quality of conservation outcomes could improve immeasurably.
Queensland has a unique opportunity to deliver meaningful, measurable and very cost-effective conservation outcomes through better supporting the voluntary contribution and hard work of Nature Refuge landholders.
We call on you to significantly increase nature refuges funding to improve management and monitoring of existing nature refuges and to encourage more landholders to enter the program.
Barry & Tammy Hughes, North Head Nature Refuge Forsyth, Qld.
Ewamian Aboriginal Corporation, Talaroo Nature Refuge Mount Surprise, Qld
Ian & Christine McMaster, Mt Mellum Nature Refuge Beerwah, Qld
Marilyn Shrapnel, Gerygone Gully Nature Refuge Mooloolah, Qld
Cheryl Bean, Gil'la Nature Refuge Traveston, Qld
Rick Humphries, Possum Lane Nature Refuge Stanthorpe, Qld
Fiorella Paola Cassoni, Bimblebox Nature Refuge Alpha, Qld
Dilladerri Nature Refuge Balmoral Ridge, Qld
Wilga Park, Nature Refuge Texas, Qld
Whilalloo Nature Refuge Texas, Qld
Andrew Pegler, The 1959 Nature Refuge Yaraka, Qld
Jayn Hobba, Tumbledown Nature Refuge Stanthorpe, Qld
Carol Booth, Tim Low & Terry Reis, Egernia Nature Refuge Stanthorpe, Qld
Alastair McDonald - McDonald Holdings
Mount Windsor Nature Refuge Barcoo, Qld
Rutland Plains Nature Refuge Carpentaria, Qld
Ballara Nature Refuge Cloncurry, Qld
Gary Plant, Kurrajong Place Nature Refuge Stanthorpe, Qld
Stephen & Lilith Martin, Garanyali Nature Refuge Maleny, Qld
Sigrid Heise-Pavlov, The Iggies Nature Refuge Atherton Tablelands, Qld
Robert & Anna Zigterman, Dirran Creek Nature Refuge Atherton Tablelands, Qld
David & Brenda Parsons, Nyalar Mirungan-ah Nature Refuge Maryvale, Qld
Wal & Heather Mayr, Blue Fig Creek Nature Refuge Gold Coast Hinterland, Qld
Rob & Lyn French Gilberton, Nature Refuge Einasleigh QLD
Richard Proudfoot, Rainforest Ridge Nature Refuge Sunshine Coast Hinterland, Qld
John & Barbara Murton, Resolute Nature Refuge Nanango, QLD
Carly and Mark Sugars, Mt Molangul Nature Refuge Dalga, Qld
Elaine Bradley & Steve Burgess, Wurraglen Nature Refuge Dagun, Qld
Joshua and Ryan Hull Hillview Nature Refuge Stanthorpe, Qld
Barbara Maslen, Wild Wings & Swampy Things Nature Refuge Daintree, Qld
Dawn Couchman & Patrick Ledwith, Haven Nature Refuge Cooran, Qld
South Endeavour Trust
Kings Plains-Alkoomie Nature Refuge Cooktown, Qld
South Endeavour Nature Refuge Cooktown, Qld
Caloola Nature Refuge Cooktown, Qld
Lemuroid Leap Nature Refuge Atherton Tablelands, Qld
Dirrans End Nature Refuge Atherton Tablelands, Qld
Cloudland Nature Refuge Atherton Tablelands, Qld
Cassowary Crossing Nature Refuge Atherton Tablelands, Qld
Misty Mountain Nature Refuge Atherton Tablelands, Qld
Freemans Forest Nature Refuge Atherton Tablelands, Qld
Baralba Corridor Nature Refuge Cow Bay, Qld
Rainforest Rescue Nature Refuge Daintree, Qld
Kulki Anga Nature Refuge Cape Tribulation, Qld
Milky Pine Nature Refuge Daintree, Qld
Queensland Trust for Nature
Avoid Island Nature Refuge Avoid Island, Qld
Ant Plant East Nature Refuge Tully, Qld
Cassowary Connection Nature Refuge Mission Beach, Qld
Bush Heritage Australia
Carnarvon Station Nature Refuge Mount Moffat, Qld
Cravens Peak Nature Refuge Toko, Qld
Currumbin Valley Nature Refuge Coolangatta, Qld
Edgbaston Nature Refuge Aramac, Qld
Ethabuka Nature Refuge Bedourie, Qld
Goonderoo Nature Refuge Springsure, Qld
Pullen Pullen Nature Refuge Diamantina Lakes, Qld
Reedy Creek Nature Refuge Agnes Water, Qld
Yourka Nature Refuge Ravenshoe, Qld
Joe Schick & Anne-Marie Dineen, Oakview Wildlife Nature Refuge Kilkivan, Qld
Nicole Jackson & Phillip Gordge, The Sanctuary Nature Refuge Eukey, Qld
Anna Fearnley, Carabeen Nature Refuge Killarney, Qld
Garlone Moulin & Jamie Gordon, Mount Pleasant Nature Refuge Collinsville, Qld
Dahmongah Nature Refuge Mount Mee, Qld
Feathertail Nature Refuge Brookfield, Qld
Dovecot Nature Refuge Mount Morgan, Qld
Horseshoe Bay Nature Refuge Magnetic Island, Qld
Hypsi Forest Nature Refuge Tarzali, Qld
Mt Quincan Crater Retreat, Mount Quincan Nature Refuge Yungaburra, Qld
Harper Creek Guala Nature Refuge Connondale, Qld
Numala CTS, Numala Community Nature Refuge Tamborine Mountain, Qld
Australian Wildlife Conservancy
Bowra Wildlife Sanctuary Nature Refuge Cunnamulla, Qld
Brooklyn Nature Refuge Mount Carbine, Qld
Mount Zero-Taravale Nature Refuge Paluma, Qld
Piccaninny Plains Nature Refuge Archer River, Qld
Ballara Park Nature Refuge Chinchilla, Qld