Protected area partnership to grow First Nations jobs

Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef and Minister for Science and Youth Affairs The Honourable Meaghan Scanlon

The Palaszczuk Government has announced a partnership with the Bunya Peoples’ Aboriginal Corporation (BPAC) to protect close to 1,000 hectares of vital native habitat and support First Nations jobs in the Toowoomba and South Burnett regions.

Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon met with representatives from BPAC today to announce $100,000 in funding to care for Country on eight nature refuges in the area, building on funding provided through the government’s highly successful Indigenous Land and Sea Ranger Program.

“First Nations communities have played a central and powerful role in caring for environment, culture and heritage for tens of thousands of years,” Minister Scanlon said.

“That’s why we’ve partnered with BPAC so Indigenous rangers can carry out weed control, property management planning and cultural burning on these nature refuges.

“The eight nature refuges, covering a total of 944 hectares of conservation-significant land are located on Bunya Peoples’ Country, with BPAC actively caring for Country in these areas.

“Importantly, it creates vital employment and training opportunities in the Toowoomba and South Burnett regions as part of our COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan.

Through the funding BPAC will work with the nature refuge landholders to deliver these activities by July 2022.

“From the southernmost reaches of our state to Cape York in the far north, Queensland is home to 551 private protected areas – the largest private protected area network by land area in the country.

“Alone, private protected areas cover more than 4.47 million hectares of land, adding to 10 million hectares of land protected by this government through recent acquisitions like Bramwell and Richardson stations.

“That’s why we’re partnering with groups like BPAC to support private landholders who are doing their bit to support the environment through owning and managing a nature refuge.

“It builds on support for Indigenous communities as part of the Palaszczuk Government’s record $1.4 billion investment in the environment and COVID-19 economic recovery plan, as well as major strides already taken towards a Path to Treaty.”

General Manager of BPAC, Mr Paul Dawson, said the corporation was pleased to partner with the PPAP and were thankful for the collaboration with the QILSRP.

“The outcomes will not only enhance key values across private nature refuges, but build lasting partnerships between landholders, Aboriginal Rangers and key government environmental programs,” Mr Dawson said.

The PPAP is the Queensland Government’s primary voluntary conservation covenanting program, encouraging landholders to partner with the state to protect the conservation values of their land through the declaration of a nature refuge.

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