Protected Area Strategy – rushed consultation

Part of the Moreton Bay Marine Park protected area

Mangroves south of Toondah Harbour

The Palaszczuk Government is consulting on a draft Protected Area Strategy, giving the community about three weeks to read, consider and respond to the draft document by 24 February 2017.

Why has the Minister allowed so little time for the community to engage in discussion about this important issue?

A Protected Area Strategy deserves better consultation!

What is the draft strategy about?

In launching his draft strategy Minister Steven Miles said:

We’re asking the public for their comments on how we can build and manage a diverse and effective protected area system in Queensland.

Our protected areas include our national parks and privately owned nature refuges, and are recognised for their diversity, flora and fauna, and wonderful scenery.

Our draft Protected Area Strategy proposes actions to expand and effectively manage Queensland’s protected area system, now and into the future.

The strategy outlines ways we might do this while conserving representative and resilient samples of Queensland’s biodiversity at the same time as moving towards our goal of having 17 per cent of the state’s total land area as protected areas.

Given the limited time for serious consultation, it looks like the Protected Area Strategy has been launched without serious intent, little fanfare and only a three week turn around!

The need for an expanded protected area of national parks was one of the central issues for planning of the SEQ region since the early 1990’s, but the draft SEQ Regional Plan sweeps aside the interstate comparisons that show the region poorly served with regional scale open space.

Open space in the Sydney region is about 49% while only 18% of south east Queensland is open space.

More than 60% of planned population growth in south east Queensland is south of the Brisbane River but this area has only 34% of the Region’s open space.

Unless the Protected Area Strategy deals with real problems it will be yet another meaningless Government document with more photos than ideas.

NPAQ welcomes the draft Strategy

AT least the National Parks Association Qld (NPAQ) seems to have had its finger on the pulse.  President Michelle Prior is said to welcome the Government’s new strategy, saying:

Queensland is internationally renowned for its biodiversity and natural beauty, and in need of a clear strategy to deliver a world-class protected area network.

We welcome the foresight shown in developing a protected area strategy that encompasses the various tenures of conservation lands under the one umbrella.

National parks and other protected areas deliver Queenslanders many benefits from boosting our economy, providing vital ecosystem services, protecting our natural and cultural heritage and are central to our outdoor lifestyle.

However, there are many other community organisations who are stakeholders in the State’s protected areas.

The Queensland Conservation Council, Queensland Outdoor Recreation Federation and Tourism Queensland come to mind.

The NPAQ has invited comment from the community, this is understood so that individual comments can be incorporated into the NPAQ submission.  The offer of the NPAQ is commendable, but it is also a stop gap measure given the Ministers contracted timeframe for submission.

If the Minister is serious he should stop the Toondah PDA

Community protest about the Toondah Harbour PDA

In Redlands, the Toondah Priority Development Area (PDA) can only proceed if significant areas of the existing Moreton Bay Marine Park are revoked to allow a developer to dredge and destroy internationally significant wetlands.

It is obvious that the agencies planning for the PDA paid scant attention to the Moreton Bay Marine Park designation.

If the Minister is genuinely concerned about Protected Areas he would be ensuring that the Moreton Bay Marine Park is protected from ill-considered plans for urban development through dredging and land reclamation.

Proper consultation requires more time

Most community organisations meet monthly.  This rushed consultation process means that most incorporated bodies will be obliged to ignore his discussion paper or breach organisational protocols and possible governance provisions for incorporated associations.

To adequately respond to the discussion paper most groups need 6 weeks.  Given the approach taken by Minister Miles one conclusion is that the consultation process is merely a ‘tick and flick’ step in the process instead of a serious attempt at community consultation.

This draft discussion paper has been dropped into the flurry of consultation about the draft SEQ Regional Plan and changes to Queensland planning provisions.

How much effort does the Government really expect of the volunteer networks and community organisations it seeks comments from?

Surely the Government’s well paid communications professionals could better coordinate consultation activities across Government.

Have your say on the Protected Area Strategy

The closing date for public comment is Friday 24 February 2017.

There are three ways of making a submission:

  1. Email to:
  2. Post to Protected Area Strategy, Department of Environment and Heritage Protection,  GPO Box 2454, Brisbane QLD 4001
  3. Provide your submission online via the Queensland Government’s Get Involved website


Redlands2030 – 15 February 2017

Please note: Offensive or off-topic comments will be deleted. If offended by any published comment please email

6 thoughts on “Protected Area Strategy – rushed consultation

  1. Big push for more private involvement in protected area management on public land…e.g. bilbyies, private tourism…hard to like or trust it. Proper partnerships can only be based on comprehensive, balanced and mature plans of management….QPWS Management planning is in house, infantile and the push for partnerships too driven by apparent cost saving rather than better outcomes to be the substantive basis of any joint management…state controlled plans need to be in place through at least a development, review and confirmation cycle (3 independent properly constituted planning teams) before any significant partnerships are established…otherwise we will get management focussed on narrow objectives that miss the big (complex) picture.

    10% to 15% state owned and managed should be the goal…with those bits that are part of the real ( highest conservation) CAR reserve system (5% to 10%) protected by very restrictive, preserve to the greatest possible extent, precautionary policies and management….options for more flexible management outside of this clearly identified area (that may include current high use areas eg scenic rim) and the inclusion of private in addition to this is encouraged but should not be relied on. Conservation, tourism and recreation should be planned and managed cross tenure and as regional solutions….Active recreation and tourism should only be considered outside the conservation core…

    In general the public sector should not compete with the private sector by supplying commercial services on its estate…it should foster complementary service provision arrangements and have the beneficiaries of publicly provided services pay a reasonable fee either through hypothecated tourism taxation or by direct service fees levied on tourism enterprises proportionate to benefits derived through advertising or client benefits.

    We nearly got this done once before.

    Park pass levied on all vehicles that enter parks, with a premium paid for some parks (but capped at a reasonable maximum) Is the way to go…that is the Tassie system with a twist…

  2. The Protected Areas Strategy poses near a score of questions to the Public.
    Before answering those the Public is entitled to know the answers to questions asked by your correspondents and some others, especially after peculiar Departmental positions on; koalas, Masterplans, staffing non replacement , and the lack of rectification of Legal, fiscal and administrative wreckage left by the State LNP Government.
    The ACF has a sophisticated discussion paper .
    The Other Questions which deserve answers relate are
    1. the details of the new tenure:- size minimum criteria and access etc
    2. The list of partners already there -Branson
    3. The list of other land trusts See AWC in NSW Parks
    4.. What position do International groups like WWF (Int), C.I. PEW , FFI , etc. competing against Australian Groups for Australian Grants and moneys , occupy
    5 . After the amazing Biodiversity Planning Assessments done by EPA/EHP -Core Areas and Corridors are these to be used in the next 9% ? Not the S.O.I.C Offset Maps . Not much on the State Offset Register. Where has all the vegetation gone– carbon emissions?
    6. Much of the big environmental data did not get to the Draft SEQ Regional Plan
    7. The Climate Corridors and Refugia require updating and release.
    Without immediate Environmental Law Reform and Planning Reform much of the future reserve system (9%) will not be there on the Sunshine Coast , Coastal Qld, Shoalwater, and the Brigalow.
    Keep tabling the Reserve Estate Questions

  3. The paper stinks.

    The time frame stinks even more.
    It reads to me as if the international services companies want to take over routine management of parks and in return want tenure i.e. the right to profit by capital gains or leasing.

    There is no respect shown for the rangers that dedicate their lives to their tasks…it is more than a a job….they put in hours of unpaid and unrecognised effort …because they are committed to the cause.
    Perhaps that workforce is not as compliant as a hardened industrial work force were profit is the motive.

    Has there been any discussions between the minister or department and services companies (such as Halliburton, Serco, G4S et cetera)?

    Has the Minister adopted the trump model of consultation….do as little as possible because he already knows the answers … clearly the time frame shows no respect for stakeholders.

  4. It is worrying to see a suite of Park and Planning Principles missing here.
    Whether the tenures fit the Ministers proposals is another question raised by Peak Groups .
    As seen in some Gecko Court Cases Dr M. Olson found superior World Heritage values in the freehold proposed for Tourist Ventures outside the National Park. Some reserves have very high ecological value buffers.
    The protections for the next 9% of the state, of reserves to be gazetted are not there in the State Plan, SEQ Regional Plan and Planning Acts and 9 pieces of Planning Law
    This is such a fundamental case for federally funding the Great Eastern Ranges and the NRS again and challenging Big Tourism in Rural Areas (enabled by the SEQ RP SPRP and lax Planning Schemes) which have not been adequately assessed.IE Border Ranges, Logan River, Undullah and the unacknowledged National biodiversity hotspots of the Sunshine Coast and The East Coast Forests of Australia .

    The responsibility for managing so many of the mosaic of reserves designated under National Estate, National Heritage , National Reserve System s(NRS), and CARS and other federal funding immediately triggers questions of: where are the Rangers, where is the Management , where are the proper Management Plans and where is the reporting to Canberra and IUCN ?

  5. The Peak Organisations mentioned above and others should not just put out fliers on the Strategy without raising say just a few of the tangible issues of ;
    1. The existing tourism agreements IE Natural Arch Fraser Island etc , MTB and Horse Use , GBR
    Islands Nat Parks with existing and failed resorts .
    2. The contributions paid by those industries for infrastructure and fees and rangers
    3. The 3 strikes and out rules for Operators perhaps over trading on Natural Arch and Fraser Island, other Parks etc
    4. Model Agreements and Business Cases
    5. Review of Control Fire Regimes at Springbrook, D’Aguilars and Savannah and western Parks. This current system does nothing for forest floor Invertebrates ,forest floor ecosystems, Hilltop invertebrates and food webs.
    6. Future of Rangers;- funding , assaults by Off Roaders , continuing education .& replacements. dangers in Cape York ,wildlife prosecutions .
    7. Measures to protect Future Reserves (the other 9%)in Biodiversity Hotspots , A,T.S.I. Occupation and Sacred Sites from future encroachment urban, infrastructure and tourism in leasehold and freehold are not there . although Biodiversity and regional landscapes are mentioned in sustain theme in the SEQ Regional Plan ?.

    So much of what should be Reserves on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland , Brigalow fragments , Kidman properties , GBR Catchments parcels and Islands need a suite of re assessments and new tenures and classifications and agreements .

    While some wild dogs are under control(not Moreton Bay Rail ? 161 dead koalas by dogs ) , the foxes , pigs and “super cats ” are knocking out our common and threatened species and some habitat.(ranger and other data)

    Koalas do not get a reasonable mention . The National Parks Association of NSW after doing a koala meta population survey and mapping in NE NSW in 2014 have proposed monster Koala National Parks in NE NSW. This has led to a Koala Inquiry Report in december 2016 strategically well ahead of Qld. at this point .
    Predictive mapping is not the answer anywhere .EHP Koala policy seems to be facilitating local extinctions.

    There are other streams of importance about impacts and whether EHP, the Rural Local Authority or other State or Federal Agency , can actually assess and mitigate impacts.

    This is timed for a budget Submission , but the month extension needed is not enough to RTI the documents or reserve data or plans.

  6. Some experts have said that this paper is missing Planning Principles , References and access to data.
    The lack of Management Plans and perhaps draft management plans is obvious in the south and north .
    The mandatory text of Recreation Ecology by Micheal Liddle(1997) must be essential here as it is now valued at $300. The WWF resort map of coastal Development 2006 and the AMCS island data base are interesting documents here.

    Carrying Capacity and Business Cases are not obvious. Some consultants are already out there .
    The problem of data access on each Reserve exists . Some wildnet versus other data sets may differ by upward of one hundred species.
    Not enough time to RTI those hidden management documents , data sets or original Surveys by Peter Stanton, Jim Gasteen , Paul Sattler or the National Reserve System Files.
    The Minister should allow more time, provide supporting information and Administrative Release.

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