Too often we are hearing news of Protected Area Downgrading, Downsizing and Degazettement (PADDD) events around the world so it is good to see an example of a significant reversal of PADDD that will positively affect the many hundreds of protected areas in Queensland, Australia.
On Wednesday 11 th May, 2016, the Queensland Parliament passed a law that reverses significant downgrading of national park laws that had been put in place by the previous government in 2013 and 2014. The current amendment restores the primacy of nature conservation as the objective of the Act. The 2013 amendments to the Act had added additional purposes including social, cultural and commercial use to the list of primary objectives for national parks, opening the door to a range of incompatible uses. The recently passed amendments to the Act also restore the protected areas designation of “national park (scientific)” giving extra protection to areas of critical importance for biodiversity such as Raine Island in the Great Barrier Reef. In addition, the legislative changes make community consultation a required part of preparation of management plans for all national parks and enshrines a requirement for due process in consultation with Indigenous people in relation to management of protected areas in Cape York. The changes have been welcomed by the National Parks Association of Queensland and the Australian Conservation Foundation.
Queensland national park laws restored (Brisbane Times, 11 May, 2016)
How safe does protected status keep the world's national parks?(The Guardian, 5 May, 2016))