The first round of the nation-leading $500 million Land Restoration Fund (LRF) has been announced and is set to deliver regional jobs, skills and infrastructure, reduce carbon emissions, healthier waterways and create more habitat for threatened species.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said nearly $93 million in the first round would go to 21 projects across the state, creating almost 690 jobs, with 400 of those in Far North Queensland.
“The Land Restoration Fund supports Traditional Owners, farmers, land managers and landowners to create jobs for Queenslanders, diversify income streams and restore our rich and varied landscape,” the Premier said.
“This means jobs for ecologists, graziers, Indigenous Rangers, fire managers, foresters, tradies for things like fencing, irrigation and earthmoving as well as specialist skills like laser levelling, mapping and helicopter pilots.
“Delivering these projects will be vital to the state’s economic recovery.
The Premier said more than $55 million would go towards seven projects in the Far North creating over 400 jobs.
“One of the successful projects is the Kinrara Dry Tropics Regeneration Project at Kinrara Cattle Station at Mount Garnet, which will involve regenerating native forest to help to restore threatened ecosystems and protect wetlands.
“Other successful projects in the Far North include the Northern Aurukun Savanna Burning Project that will protect gallery forest and support Traditional Owners connection to country and the Dry Rainforest Restoration and Terrestrial Laser Scanning project which will see revegetation occur on three Far North Queensland properties.”
Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef Leeanne Enoch said that these projects will provide regional and rural communities with employment opportunities while helping to protect Queensland’s unique environment. “The Land Restoration Fund is the first of its kind and is supporting Queensland to capitalise on our incredible biodiversity,” Ms Enoch said.
“Up to $93 million will be invested in the first round in carbon farming projects delivering critical environmental, social and economic benefits, and employment across the state.
“Last year we announced 12 pilot projects through the LRF and now we’re moving ahead with these next 21 projects.”
Member for Cook Cynthia Lui said over $43 million was offered in her local area for projects which would support over 300 jobs.
“As part of Queensland’s economic recovery, this funding investment provides a much-needed boost to our local economy, supporting employment opportunities in our community and protecting country,” Ms Lui said.
The independent LRF Investment Panel selected the successful projects following a rigorous process. The Investment Panel Chair, Professor Marcia Langton AO of the University of Melbourne, said the selected projects would deliver on social, environmental and economic benefits for Queenslanders.
“The Investment Panel reviewed an impressive range of applications submitted to the Land Restoration Fund’s 2020 Investment Round,” Professor Langton said.
“Our role was to select a portfolio of investments for the Land Restoration Fund Trust that were diverse; not just geographically, but also in delivering a range of co-benefits for Queenslanders across key investment areas. I am pleased to say we have done just that.
“The portfolio of 21 projects we have put forward for investment will potentially see more than $90 million offered to Queensland farmers, land managers and landowners from the Cape to central Queensland down to the south west.
“Most importantly, we will see significant investment in First Nations projects. The successful projects from First Nations applicants reflect an enormous commitment to land restoration, which the Panel found to be inspiring.”
Tim Hughes of South Endeavour Trust, proponent of the Dry Rainforest Restoration and Terrestrial Laser Scanning project said that the project has many outcomes beyond carbon emissions reduction.
“The Dry Rainforest Restoration and Terrestrial Laser Scanning project will see revegetation occur on three far north Queensland properties, at the intersection of three distinct bioregions including Cape York Peninsula, Wet Tropics and Einasleigh Uplands.
“In addition to restoring land for threatened ecosystems and wildlife, this project will also see the adaptation of new planting techniques and will test cutting edge technology.
“This will further help to advance research and development in carbon farming methods and techniques, reduce costs and enable future projects that will help to drive job creation and contribute to economic sustainability for land managers,” Mr Hughes said.
Carbon farming helps to capture, hold and store carbon in trees and soils or avoid the release of greenhouse gas emissions, helping Queensland to meet its commitments on climate change, including achieving zero net emissions by 2050.