Updated: March 01, 2012
Conservationists applaud Bligh’s visionary wildlife corridor plan
The Wilderness Society (Qld) Inc.
1 March 2012
The Wilderness Society has applauded Premier Anna Bligh's pledge today to create a huge 2,200 km wildlife corridor from the "Border to the Beach" if re-elected. The plan involves the creation of new National Parks in areas of high conservation value, and voluntary conservation agreements with lease and land holders and Traditional Owners to ensure good management of the conservation values of the whole corridor.
"If we are to save the wonderful wildlife and sustain the landscapes of Queensland we have to think big. Nature needs to be connected across large areas for species to survive," said Dr Tim Seelig, Queensland Campaign Manager for The Wilderness Society.
"Premier Bligh's announcement today meets the challenge of big, visionary thinking for nature."
The Wilderness Society said that there must be no-go areas for destructive mining for the plan to be successful.
"Premier Bligh has signalled that as part of this wildlife corridor plan, the Nature Refuge system will be reviewed to consider stronger protection from mining," Dr Seelig said. "This is a long-overdue reform and we are encouraged to see the Premier recognise the importance of protecting nature from mining on high conservation value private lands."
"Nature Refuges currently have very little protection from mining. For example the stunning Bimblebox Nature Refuge in central Queensland is not currently protected from Clive Palmer's huge China First open-cut coal mine" said Dr Seelig.
The Wilderness Society said the wildlife corridor plan is a perfect complement to the Wild River declarations for the Georgina and Diamantina rivers and Cooper Creek in western Queensland, made in December last year by the Bligh Government. The rivers are now protected from destructive mining activities through a buffer system, while water extraction is capped a sustainable level. Restrictions on CSG and other petroleum and gas extraction have also been applied.
The Wilderness Society encouraged Premier Bligh to work closely with Traditional Owners to ensure that the goals of conservation, land justice and Indigenous job creation could be met through the wildlife corridor plan.
"We encourage the Premier to replicate the Indigenous conservation successes of Cape York and recently, Stradbroke Island, as part of this wildlife corridor plan," Dr Seelig said. This includes creating Aboriginal-owned National Parks, returning land to Traditional Owners, and overseeing major growth in ranger and natural resource management jobs for Indigenous people."
Dr Tim Seelig: 0439 201 183
Alex Tibbitts, Media Advisor, The Wilderness Society: 0416 420 168
For more information, please contact:
The Wilderness Society Qld Inc - Brisbane
67 Boundary Street (upstairs)
West End, QLD, 4101
Phone: 07 3846 1420