The World Wide Fund for Nature-Australia today welcomed the announcement
by the NSW Government that it will create a major new national park to protect wildlife and critical landscapes in the state’s far north-west.
The government has purchased more than 437,000 hectares at Thurloo Downs near the Queensland border in what it says is the largest acquisition in NSW national parks history.
“This is a landscape-scale conservation action that will help conserve significant wetlands and dozens of threatened species including migratory waterbirds,” said Dr Stuart Blanch, a conservation scientist at WWF-Australia.
“The new national park will provide permanent protection for mulga and other vegetation types that currently have very little formal protection in NSW.
“Together with Sturt National Park and Narriearra Caryapundy Swamp National Park, it will also create an interconnected network of protected areas covering almost one million hectares stretching more than 260km along the Queensland border.
“It’s vital that the government consults closely with Indigenous communities regarding the joint management and handback of this land, and works to create jobs for Traditional Owners in park management and conservation of cultural sites.”
While welcoming today’s announcement, Dr Blanch said NSW has more work ahead to support the global goal of protecting 30% of land by 2030.
“The NSW protected areas estate covers just over 10% of land, which is the second lowest by proportion in Australia,” he said.
“Today’s announcement represents a big and welcome addition to protected areas, and we need another 10 like it.”
“There are still big gaps in the state’s protected areas network, particularly in the sheep and wheat belt west of the Great Dividing Range.”
WWF-Australia continues to work with governments through its Regenerate Australia program, and is asking all Australian states and territories to step up the protection of land, freshwater and oceans.
“This leadership is vital to ensure the protection we afford our wildlife and wild places is both meaningful and in line with global commitments,” said Dr Blanch.