20 million hectares by 2020: protected areas, green infrastructure and green jobs for Queensland

Taylor, Martin F.J., Adams, Vanessa M., Segan, Daniel B., and Pressey, Robert L. (2009) 20 million hectares by 2020: protected areas, green infrastructure and green jobs for Queensland. Report. WWF-Australia, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

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Abstract

[Extract] In March 2008, the Queensland Government committed to expanding its national park network from 5% to7.5% of the state’s area by 2020 and expanding all protected areas to 20 million ha by 2020, representing 11.6% of the state’s land area.

This significant, long overdue initiative recognises that Queensland is the state with the lowest percentage of land area protected and that expanding its reserve system is the highest priority of any Australian state or territory.

However, the failure to fund new national park purchases in the 2008-9 budget has meant that the Queensland Government has essentially foregone as much as $12 million in $2 for $1 funding that could have been leveraged as grants from the Australian Government NRS program to buy land for new national parks.

The State Government estimated that its parks promise would cost $120 million, or approximately $12 million a year in 2008 dollars over the 10 years to 2020. This would be financed through Eco Fund Queensland – a State-run fund that acts as a clearing house for carbon and environmental offsets. However, Eco Fund has no general revenue or budget dedicated to this task.

This study shows, through property-by-property simulations of protected area additions, that the government's projected $12 million a year would be sufficient to achieve its 2020 parks commitment, provided the state obtains matching Australian Government grants and follows the most cost-efficient approach. We also show that this level of investment could be met through the GST collected from tourists visiting new parks, estimated at more than $18 million annually.

However, these funding sources would not be sufficient to meet earlier State Government commitments to develop a fully comprehensive protected area system by 2015 that secured every regional ecosystem to at least 8% by area and over 80% of ecosystems to at least 10% by area. Significantly greater investment, in the order of $52 million a year, likely to be split into $40 million a year from the state and $12 million in matching grants from the Australian Government, would be necessary to meet such comprehensiveness targets.

The current commitment to expand Queensland’s protected areas is an essential first step in expanding the parks system and a means for providing the green infrastructure and jobs necessary for the state's development. The initiative would also significantly reduce the threat of extinction for many native species; halve erosion, soil loss rates and water pollution in the areas added; conserve highly valuable genetic resources; and enhance Indigenous development, depending on concurrent policy reform.

Item ID: 29580
Item Type: Report (Report)
Keywords: Queensland; conservation of natural resources; biodiversity conservation; National Reserve System Programme
ISBN: 978-1-921031-36-6
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2013 02:29
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 33%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050209 Natural Resource Management @ 34%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050211 Wildlife and Habitat Management @ 33%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960501 Ecosystem Assessment and Management at Regional or Larger Scales @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences @ 50%
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