The Queensland Government has commenced the process to compulsorily acquire 148 hectares of land on the Southern Gold Coast to transform it into one of the largest eco-parklands in Australia, delivering on an election commitment.
Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Steven Miles said the government committed to protect the parcel of land at Currumbin Waters, locally known as Martha’s Farm or Martha’s Vineyard.
“We’re delivering on our commitment to protect this important land and transform it into Currumbin Eco Parkland,” Mr Miles said.
“Not only will this be a new recreational eco-parkland for the community, but it will protect valuable koala habitat as well as local flora and fauna.
“We listened to community concerns about preserving this unique property, and we have acted on these concerns.
“This decision also ends 20 years of development uncertainty around the site.
“It’s a highly constrained site with steep topography and flooding issues, making it difficult to develop, but has some unique features that make it worth preserving and enhancing.”
Mr Miles said the government has undertaken commercial negotiations with the current landowners since early 2021, to purchase the site.
“Unfortunately, an agreement has not been reached, and we have had to take further action. We remain open to a commercial resolution with the landowner.” he said.
“If the site is acquired, we will progress short term measures to make the site publicly accessible including construction of an entry road, car parking and amenities, before commencing stakeholder and community consultation to ensure everyone has an opportunity to put their ideas forward about the long-term outcomes for the site.”
Minister for the Environment Meghan Scanlon said the government was committed to conserving Queensland’s natural areas with more than 1.2 million hectares protected since 2015, including the nearby Merala Nature Refuge, which she visited and announced last week.
“This decision will protect koalas and other local wildlife, stop development from encroaching on the local blackbutt forest and as Queenslanders rekindle their love for their own backyard, encourage more nature-based tourism,” Minister Scanlon said.
“It’ll build on our $60 million commitment to expand Queensland’s protected areas, and adds to our record $1.4 billion budget for the environment and COVID-19 economic recovery.
“Just like the land next door at the Merala Nature Refuge is being restored, we’ll see our rangers protect and preserve this valuable pocket of nature.
“I know we’ll work closely with the City of Gold Coast on this important project – just like we have through our other nature refuges and protected areas.”
The news was welcomed by Peter Kershaw, President of Friends of Currumbin, a local community group, who had identified Martha’s Vineyard for its environmental preservation and community uses and requested the State Government to step in and preserve the land.
“We are so grateful that the Queensland Government has acted to do the right thing for the community, and our wildlife,” Mr Kershaw said.
“Land parcels of this size, with such high biodiversity are very rare on the Gold Coast, which is why we are so passionate about saving it for future generations.”
People interested in registering for future community consultation on a masterplan for the Currumbin Eco Parkland should visit: https://haveyoursay.dsdmip.qld.gov.au/currumbin-eco-parkland