Forests win protection status

Permanent conservation granted to 12,000ha across the hinterland

By Sonia Isaacs

HINTERLAND residents have hailed the move to conserve 12,000 hectares of state forest in the region from future logging.
The State Government announced last week that forestries in the hinterland would soon be transferred to national park conservation status.
Environmental groups say the move will attract more recreational activity and tourism to the Sunshine Coast hinterland.
The hinterland forestries are among 20,000 hectares statewide that are set to be protected under the Native Timber Action Plan.
The protected land includes:

  • 843 hectares of Jimna State Forest;
  • 657 hectares of Peachester State Forest for dedication as part of the existing Glass House Mountains Conservation Park, containing core koala habitat and significant ecological and recreational values for the broader community.
  • Two areas totalling 1,119 hectares of Beerburrum West State Forest.
  • 479 hectares Bellthorpe State Forest for dedication as part of the existing Bellthorpe National Park, forming part of a bioregional corridor containing important lowland forest ecosystems.
    *119 hectares of Luttons State Forest for dedication as part of the exiting Glass House Mountains Conservation Park, containing significant conservation values and habitat for threatened fauna such as the central greater glider and koala.
    “The Government is doing what matters for Queenslanders, protecting and expanding areas of high environmental importance across the state,” Environment Minister Leanne Linard said.
    Queensland Conservation Council’s Nicky Moffat said local communities were the biggest winners in the June 14 announcement.
    “Many of these forests have long been enjoyed by bushwalkers, mountain bike riders and nature based businesses,” Ms Moffat said.
    Peachester resident, Bianca Skews, said the move was a massive win for the community.
    “It demonstrates the power of what the community can do when we come together, see a wrongdoing and fight for our environment,” she said.
    “Not only have we protected the forests we campaigned to, but the Queensland Government has listed 12,000 hectares of pockets of forests, like ours, to be forever protected.
    “Sometimes it feels the world is going in the wrong direction, and then something like this happens and it feels like a huge nudge back on track.
    “I want thank the community, for everyone who shared our story or signed a petition, thank you. We did it!”