A thriving national park is set for a huge expansion that will help secure the future of precious wildlife.
More than 2,400 hectares of former Noosa state forest and plantation will be added to Tewantin National Park, the Queensland Government has announced.
The initiative will restore swathes of native habitat and create new jobs.
Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon said the State Government would now turn the old Yurol Ringtail State Forest, north of Cooroy, into a protected area.
Major revegetation works would be carried out by the Kabi Kabi People Aboriginal Corporation, Greenfleet Australia and Noosa Landcare.
Minister Scanlon said it was a great example of collaboration between the Government, councils, First Nations communities, industry and environment groups like the Noosa Parks Association.
The united goal was to rehabilitate the environment and sprout new employment and training opportunities.
“Tewantin and Noosa national parks play an incredibly important role in the local environment and also bring in thousands of tourists every year to this area – so any chance to expand it will reap huge benefits for the community,” the minister said.
“The final harvest of pine and hardwood plantation timber in the state forest is expected to be completed soon, and following that the plantation areas will be revegetated with native species and the restored habitat progressively added to Tewantin National Park.”
The transformation of ex-plantation state forests into new national park is part of the Yurol Ringtail Conservation Project.
This began in 2018 as a partnership between the Department of Environment and Science, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, HQPlantations, Noosa Shire Council and Noosa Parks Association.
Nicklin MP Rob Skelton said the project was expected to be completed in 2025, delivering massive conservation and social benefits for the region.
“The Kabi Kabi Peoples will work in close partnership with Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service to manage the Tewantin National Park,” he said.
“Many locals know Tewantin National Park provides a home for a diverse array of wildlife, and I’m looking forward to the next stages of the restoration work and the planting beginning.”
Noosa MP Sandy Bolton said it was the culmination of decades of work by the community.
“This is both the end of a long-held vision and process involving many and the beginning of a new journey where over the next few years a total of 2,400 hectares will join the Tewantin National Park,” she said.
“This project and partnership is especially important to the current and future generations of our flora and fauna and all Queenslanders who will benefit from venturing through these lands.”
Chair of the Kabi Kabi Peoples Aboriginal Corporation, Norman Bond said the project was important for the environment and the Traditional Owners.
“Kabi Kabi People look forward to working with Greenfleet and Noosa Landcare in providing training and future employment opportunities for our people and long-term protection of our country,” he said.
“Our goal now is to progressively increase the management role of Kabi Kabi people in working with QPWS over our National Park country.”
Greenfleet Australia will invest up to $4.5 million in the project and they will secure the exclusive right to benefit from associated carbon offsets for 30 years.
They have engaged Noosa and District Landcare to assist with tree propagation and planting when conditions on the ground are suitable.
Greenfleet CEO Wayne Wescott said Greenfleet’s work combined climate action via ecosystem restoration with reconciliation, that included financial, training and employment opportunities for the Kabi Kabi People.
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Mayor Clare Stewart said Noosa Council welcomed the support of Greenfleet, the Kabi Kabi people and Noosa District Landcare for the next phase of the Yurol Ringtail Conservation Project.
“Revegetating the former timber plantation with native trees is a critical part of the project to help generate habitat for koalas and threatened species such as the Richmond birdwing butterfly and giant barred frogs,” she said.
“Transfer of rehabilitated forestry to Tewantin National Park will ultimately double the park’s size and create a protected corridor to the Cooloola section of the Great Sandy National Park.”