Protect Beautiful Queensland > News > Media release > Public support for doubling Queensland’s national parks
8 Feb 2024

Public support for doubling Queensland’s national parks

4 out of 5 Queenslanders support creation of more national parks, but more must be done to ensure unique landscapes and species are properly cared for.

An overwhelming majority of Queenslanders support the creation of more national parks in the state. Polling released today by the Protect Beautiful Queensland alliance reveals:

  • 77% of Queenslanders want to see the creation of more national parks.
  • 71% want to see the Queensland Government double the number of protected areas by 2030, with 64% supporting achieving this by 2032.
  • 94% say they support national parks’ role in protecting Queensland’s native animals and plants, whilst 94% also say national parks are important for recreation and our way of life.

“It’s clear Queenslanders identify with protecting our environment – which is both stunningly beautiful and globally unique,” said Queensland Conservation Council’s Protected Areas Campaigner Nicky Moffat.

“It’s been welcoming to see Minister Linard’s recent acquisitions of Tonkoro and Melrose Stations near Winton, which will add nearly 200,000 hectares to national parks in the area. We need this momentum to continue – building towards the commitments that have been made.” 

The release of polling coincides with the launch of the Protect Beautiful Queensland alliance – a new initiative of conservation organisations, the nature-based tourism industry, and the outdoor recreation sector.

“Getting out into nature is a big part of the Queensland lifestyle, with 64% of Queenslanders visiting national parks in the past 12 months. We also know that 77% of Queenslanders love parks for their natural beauty, followed closely by 68% saying they crave the peace and relaxation offered by nature,”said Elissa Keenan, CEO Ecotourism Australia.

“Our national parks and ecotourism experiences are also a significant, positive driver to Queensland’s visitor economy.” 

“Queenslanders want more opportunities to make connections with our great outdoors. Queensland’s national and conservation parks are critically important places for people to engage with nature for learning, health, fun and life.” said Outdoors Queensland Executive Officer Dom Courtney. 

“From the rolling red sand dunes of the Simpson Desert to mangrove-ringed atolls of the northern tropical coastline, Queenslanders love and value these places and want them better protected for future generations,” said National Parks Association of Queensland CEO Chris Thomas.  

“Queensland is world-renowned for our rich living cultural heritage and natural beauty. Our state is home to twice as many species of native plants and animals as any other Australian state or territory,” said Queensland Manager for the Pew Charitable Trusts Andrew Picone.

“But our unique wildlife is under threat. Doubling Queensland’s protected areas by 2030 is a key part in reversing extinction and building a world class protected area system.

“We need increased and ongoing investment in national parks, private protected areas and Indigenous-led conservation to meet state, national and global targets. Now, more than ever, we need bold action to protect our unique Queensland native wildlife.”

Notes for editors:

  • Polling was commissioned by the Queensland Conservation Council and undertaken by YouGov between 3–14 January 2024. The sample comprised 1,018 18+ year Queenslanders and is representative of the QLD voter population. Full polling results available here.
  • As Environment Minister (2015-2017) Queensland Premier Steven Miles made the 2016 commitment to double Queensland’s protected areas from around 8% to 17%. In 2020, Queensland’s Protected Area Strategy was released with $60 million in additional funding. This was bolstered by the June 2022 State Budget with the release of an additional $262.5 million land acquisition fund for new national parks. Since 2022, several major acquisitions have been announced including The Lakes (2022 – 35,300 hectares) Bramwell- Richardson Station (2022 – 131,000 hectares) and Tonkoro and Melrose Stations (2024 – 200,000 hectares).  
  • Queensland has the lowest percentage of land in protected areas in Australia: 8.3 percent, compared with a national average of 27 percent using aggregated Commonwealth data (CAPAD 2022). In October 2022, all Australian state, territory, and federal environment ministers agreed to work collectively to achieve the national target of protecting 30 percent of the country’s landmass by the year 2030.

Protect Beautiful Queensland is a non-partisan, evidence-based alliance providing decision makers with policy and delivery solutions that support protection of Queensland’s natural places.

Photo: Unprotected limestone karst systems near Palmer River on Cape York by Tim Hughes

Bluffs and trees