ELECTIONS AND THE PROTECTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT
In a few weeks Queenslanders will go to the polls to elect a government for the next 4 years and those of us in the conservation movement will be examining closely each party’s policies on the environment.
No major party is without fault in failing to protect the amazing biodiversity we have in Queensland or taking effective action on climate change.
It is understandable that during the pandemic, and in its aftermath, the focus of any government will be on getting the economy going, but unfortunately this is often at the expense of the environment on which the economy depends.
This is very clearly seen in the situation with Queensland National Parks.
Queensland has the smallest percentage of land set aside for national parks at only 8%.
Even this small area brings in $2.6 billion and 17,000 jobs to the State economy, while protecting the diversity of wildlife and plants.
Imagine how much more this could be with more national parks.
Although the prime purpose of national parks is to protect conservation, many people found out how important they are to physical and mental health especially during the Covid pandemic and many of the Parks near big population centres were overcrowded.
This figure of 8% compares poorly with other States.
Gecko, and you, can call on the Queensland Government and Opposition to build a bigger and better system of parks and protected areas across the state by signing this petition https://www.queenslandconservation.org.au/national_parks_for_life_petition and asking them to commit to :-
- Maintaining the commitment to double the size of Queensland’s protected area system.
- Investing in well-managed new National Parks to protect species and help rebuild regional tourism.
- Increasing funding for management of our existing national parks, creating more jobs for Park Rangers and land managers.
At the last election the Government promised to make substantial progress to reach the international standard of 17% of land area as protected estate, but this has not eventuated.
The Opposition does not appear to have any policy on increasing the protected estate, according to their website.
With this situation it is important that each one of us advocates with our local State members and asks them whether they will commit to increasing our national parks.
You can do this by ringing them, sending them an email or going to see them when they are out in the community.
Talk to them about how important national parks are to you as well as the future of our native animals and plants.