$4m ‘seed’ funding if council buys into forest deal
A landmark Noosa forest restoration project that will eventually see 2400 hectares of land handed over to national park could soon receive a $4 million tree planting boost.
The Yurol and Ringtail State Forest Project was hailed as a nationally significant conservation coup back in 2017, when a deal was signed by the State Government, council and Noosa Parks Association.
They agreed to fund an equal share of the $3.5 million cost to buy out HQPlantation’s long term harvest rights over an area of about 1492ha for what NPA called the Noosa Koala Corridor Project.
Now a new player in not-for-profit conservation group, Greenfleet, has arrived on the scene seeking to value add to the project with regeneration works that could be worth up to $4 million.
In return Greenfleet wants the carbon offsets rights currently owned by the State Government.
Greenfleet CEO Brett de Chastel is seeking council support to achieve “even better outcomes for regeneration of the site”.
The group has planted more than 9.4 million trees across Australia and carried out projects in Noosa.
“The proposal from Greenfleet to undertake broad scale and significant remediation is a positive one that will further enhance the success of this project,” Mr de Chastel said.
“We are looking at making a good project even better.”
Mr de Chastel said there were considerable legal complexities in managing carbon offset rights as land tenures transition to national park and negotiations with the state are ongoing.
“Greenfleet have also negotiated with the local Kabi Kabi native title claimant group and have pledged employment and other opportunities for the local Indigenous community if this project proceeds,” he said.
“If this proposal proceeds, there will be a separate contract between Greenfleet and Kabi Kabi to formalise those arrangements.
“The State Government is seeking formal in principle agreement from the original project partners to proceed with the proposal from Greenfleet.”
Mr de Chastel said the council had remediation obligations for the pine forest areas capped at $125,000 per year for five years, similar to the Noosa Parks Association.
“We are proposing that council would not need to undertake any further remediation work,” he said.
“Funding that we would have otherwise committed to remediation would be quarantined for potential future acquisition of more environmental land in the Yurol Ringtail precinct if that opportunity arose.”
He said Noosa Parks Association was seeking a similar arrangement and the State Government “appears comfortable with that proposition”.
Councillors will vote next week on whether to endorse further negotiations with Greenfelt and advise the government of its support in principle.