Last Updated: December 1, 2016

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Nature conservation reinstated as the primary goal of national park management

11 May 2016

On 11 May 2016 the Queensland Government reinstated nature conservation as the primary goal of national park management.

This reform reverses the changes made in 2013 and 2014 which broadened and downgraded the protected area concept. Those changes had placed competing interests on a par with nature conservation in national parks.

For more information see the following statement from Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles, here.

Background:

The Nature Conservation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 amends the Nature Conservation Act 1992 and other legislation. Read EDO Qld’s full submission on the Bill here.

Summary of our submission:

1.      We support the reinstatement of the conservation of nature as the sole object of the NC Act and the other proposed amendments that take measures to restore the protection previously afforded in the legislation for protected areas.

We recommend that further amendments are undertaken to fully restore the cardinal principle to the NC Act and effectuate it through the appropriate management of Queensland’s National Park estate. These further amendments are provided in points 4 and 5 here.

2.      We recommend that the principles of ecologically sustainable development, as enshrined in the Commonwealth Government’s National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development (1992), should be properly reflected in the NC Act.

3.      We support the amendments to improve public participation in the management of our protected areas.

We recommend that further amendments are required to greatly improve public participation overall in decision making in the NC Act and thereby improve transparency and accountability in the management of our protected areas.

4.      Special management areas (controlled action) should be removed from the NC Act. The allowance of manipulation of national park tenure areas confuses and detracts from the cardinal principle. Existing special management areas (controlled action) could be removed from national park tenure and instead become conservation parks or national park (recovery). At very least special management areas (controlled action) should be clarified so that this designation can only be used for managing threats to a national park tenure and not for development or inappropriate activities.

5.      We recommend the removal of reference to ecotourism facility from section 35 of the NC Act, and that no avenue for tourist resorts to be established within national parks is provided.

6.      We recommend the alignment of the classes of protected areas to the IUCN protected area management categories, or at least the reintroduction of wilderness areas, World Heritage management areas and international agreement areas.