• Venessa Merrin

Historic $3+ million investment plan for Bilbies, Night Parrots at Diamantina and Astrebla Downs

- Largest philanthropic investment (more than $3 million) in the history of Queensland National Parks. - Pioneering new public-private (non-profit) partnership model. - Initiative aims to double Queensland Bilby population. - Legendary naturalist, John Young (who rediscovered the Night Parrot), to spearhead Night Parrot initiative. - Federal Government allocates $1.2 million.

Australian Wildlife Conservancy has submitted a plan to the Queensland Government to invest more than $3 million in the conservation of Diamantina and Astrebla Downs National Parks in western Queensland. If agreed, this historic initiative will be the largest ever philanthropic investment in Queensland national parks.

It is proposed that the investment be delivered through an innovative public-private partnership across the two national parks, covering in total 700,000 hectares.

  • Under the proposal, AWC staff will work in collaboration with Queensland National Parks and Wildlife staff to deliver land management and science programs at both parks.

  • The proposed model is unique: the first public-private collaboration of its kind designed to harness the combined strengths of the public and private (non-profit) conservation models. (There is no change in the tenure of either national park or the legislative responsibilities of the QPWS.)

A feature of the plan will be targeted measures, including feral animal control, designed to increase populations of key threatened and declining species including the Bilby, the Kowari and the Night Parrot.

  • Legendary naturalist, John Young, will be deployed to help identify and protect Night Parrot populations. John Young, now working for AWC, rediscovered the Night Parrot in 2013, more than 100 years after the last living specimen was collected. John Young is still the only living person to have discovered a population of Night Parrots.

  • Bilby conservation measures will build on Queensland’s existing feral cat control measures at Astrebla Downs. The potential for establishing Queensland’s largest feral cat-free area, utilising conservation fencing, is currently subject to a risk assessment as part of the plan. A large feral-cat free area would double the Bilby population in Queensland.

The Federal Government has announced an investment of $1.2 million toward delivery of the partnership.

Establishment of a field research centre at Diamantina will support increased scientific activity across both parks, helping to inform future management strategies. Additional infrastructure for interpretative material will add to the visitor experience in Diamantina.

Details of the proposed partnership are currently being developed and considered by Queensland Government officials and AWC staff.

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