Conservation underfunding ‘not sustainable’
Leak reveals Queensland government was warned
Posted on 06.08.2020
Queensland Treasury Corporation told Palaszczuk government the under-investment was costing tourism sector up to $3.3bn a year.
The Queensland Treasury Corporation warned the state government that its ongoing under-investment in national parks and other protected areas was “not sustainable”, harmed conservation efforts and cost the tourism sector potential visitors worth up to $3.3bn each year.
Guardian Australia has obtained a leaked report from the QTC – the state’s central financing authority – from 2018, calling for a “bold” government strategy and significantly increased funding for protected areas.
The Palaszczuk government promised before the 2017 election to release and implement a strategy “that will establish a world-leading protected area system” in the state.
Three years on, a strategy has not been finalised.
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The QTC report warned two years ago that Queensland’s investment in its protected areas was “very modest” compared with other states and territories. At the same time, Queensland was losing its tourism market share to destinations that did spend more protecting their natural environment.
The QTC said that regaining tourist market share already lost to other states could be worth $3.3bn a year to Queensland and create 18,000 new jobs.
“The status quo is not sustainable, and will put Queensland further at risk of lagging behind other states” the report said.
“It is evident that more must be done to protect the state’s natural beauty. Despite pockets of excellence, state-wide biodiversity and conservation outcomes appear to be declining. Fiscal considerations limit what environmental, park and asset management outcomes can be achieved.
“Queensland’s strategy should be a bold and comprehensive step change which will expand the quantity and quality of the protected area estate; provide sufficient funding to maintain and protect the estate; and deliver measurable economic outcomes with greater investment in estate management.”
The state’s environment minister, Leeanne Enoch, said the government would deliver on its commitment to release a protected area strategy.
“The strategy will help transform our protected area system and will ensure our most important areas are safeguarded and provide the greatest conservation outcomes for future generations.”
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