HEADS MEET: The forum was addressed by Ian Mackay (second left); Paul Donatiu and Narelle McCarthy pictured with NPA president Ian Seels (left).
HEADS MEET: The forum was addressed by Ian Mackay (second left); Paul Donatiu and Narelle McCarthy pictured with NPA president Ian Seels (left). Contributed

Fears for national parks sounded at Noosa green meeting

WHAT is happening to our national parks?

Queensland has less than 5% national parks, which is way below that of other states of Australia.

Yet the Queensland State Government is reviewing protected areas including national parks declared since 2002 with some revocations likely.

Paul Donatiu, executive co-ordinator for the National Parks Association of Queensland, was the main speaker at a Noosa Parks Association members forum in July.

"In the past two years Queensland governments have purchased 12 properties for future national parks, but not one has been formally gazetted," Mr Donatiu said.

"Further, the Queensland State Government is stepping back from creating other national parks, including from both state forest agreed to become national park under the Western Hardwoods Forest Agreement, and land purchased with a majority of funding from the federal National Reserve System."

He said a further threat to our national parks came when Premier Campbell Newman allowed cattle grazing in five national parks and he intended to open more.

"Yet most of this huge state is already grazing land," he said.

"Worst of all, grazing threatens the National Parks brand in Queensland, and what it means to present our unique plants, animals and landscapes to the world. The tourism industry will only suffer from these short-sighted proposals."

The forum held at the Noosa Parks Association Environment Centre was chaired by well-known environmentalist Ian Mackay.

He reminded the audience of why national parks are so important quoting from "Queensland" by Frank Hurley first published in 1950.

"By reservation as national parks, areas of scenic, scientific or recreational interest can be maintained as nearly as possible in their original condition, so that some fragments of Australia will be kept unspoiled and untouched for all time."

Narelle McCarthy from the Sunshine Coast Environment Council also addressed the group sharing some specific challenges being faced in our own backyard.

Ms McCarthy said the government was at present looking at a zip line attraction for the Obi Obi Gorge in the Kondalilla National Park that would be part of an ecotourism initiative.

"As a region whose tourism and lifestyle advantage is underpinned by its natural beauty and diversity of land and seascapes, the Sunshine Coast Hinterland and the region more broadly, could potentially accommodate this type of attraction, but it should be outside of national parks," Ms McCarthy said.


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