Main Image: Neembeeba lookout track, Naree Budjong Djara National Park, North Stradbroke Island (Robert Ashdown/QLD Government).
This week marks 10 years since the Quandamooka People formally partnered with the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) to jointly manage the protected areas of Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island) and Teerk Roo Ra (Peel Island).
Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon said Minjerribah’s Naree Budjong Djara National Park was the first outside of Cape York Peninsula to be jointly managed.
“Naree Budjong Djara means ‘My Mother Earth’ to the Quandamooka people, and their connection to Minjerribah dates back thousands of years and remains as strong today,” Ms Scanlon said.
“The island boasts some of the country’s most spectacular scenery, rich cultural history and diverse habitats. It is home to a wide variety of plant and animal species, many of which are not found anywhere else in Australia.
“In 2011 the Quandamooka People were recognised as native title holders for the land and waters on, and surrounding Minjerribah and Teerk Roo Ra.
“Since that time, the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation (QYAC) and QPWS have formed a strong and successful partnership that protects the island’s biodiversity and rich cultural heritage for future generations.
“QYAC and QPWS are committed to jointly protecting the lands and culture of Minjerribah and Teerk Roo Ra, and continue to work together to manage visitation and to identify new culturally appropriate tourism opportunities.
“In 2020 QPWS and QYAC developed a landmark national parks management plan – Queensland’s first jointly developed national park management plan – that incorporated traditional knowledge and set out the key priorities for the conservation and management of Minjerribah’s protected areas.
“Currently more than 25 Quandamooka rangers are working on country conducting fire and pest management activities, cultural site protection, and developing new visitor opportunities on the island.
“These rangers are highly skilled in conservation work and experienced in caring for Country through inter-generational knowledge sharing and formal land management qualifications.
“Since 2011, we have invested in a range of improved visitor facilities including new and improved walking tracks, lookouts and beach camping areas.
“The Kaboora (Blue Lake) precinct upgrade has involved the construction of three new walking tracks, a spectacular lookout on the Jarlo Beetle track and a trail head make-over including a shield sculpture designed by a Quandamooka artist.
“Between Goompi (Dunwich) and Pulan (Amity), the newest walking track takes you to the summit lookout of Mount Bippo Penbean (mountainous country) with expansive views to the Glasshouse Mountains, Mulgumpin (Moreton Island) and the Greater Brisbane area.
“These projects compliment the Minjerribah Futures objectives which supports the strategic economic transition away from the island’s historical sand mining economy.
“Additionally, over 110 kilometres of strategic fire trails have been upgraded within the national park to compliment the Township Fire Management Strategy developed through QYAC”.
Quandamooka Land and Sea Management Manager Darren Burns said QYAC’s strong partnership with QPWS had ensured that the islands were cared for and protected by its Traditional Owners and custodians, the Quandamooka People.
“QYAC continues to manage the Naree Budjong Djara National Park, in collaboration as an Indigenous Joint Management Area (IJMA), importantly protecting our rich cultural and natural values,” he said.
“Our Joint Management Rangers are leading land management activities in fire, pests and weeds, as well as cultural heritage, asset maintenance, and the management of the tens of thousands of visitors to the Islands.
“We are caring for our Country as we have done for more than 40,000 years.
“As we proudly reflect on the many achievements that our joint management strategies have delivered over the over the past decade, QYAC looks forward to working with QPWS and the Queensland Government to advance the Minjerribah Protected Area Expansion Strategy as a sanctuary, now and into the future.”
Ms Scanlon said prior to the joint management arrangements only a small percentage of Minjerribah was protected as national park.
“Currently more than 50% is protected with plans to increase this in alignment with the Minjerribah Protected Area Expansion Strategy.
“The Minjerribah Protected Area Expansion Strategy has been collaboratively developed between QYAC and the Queensland Government and outlines the proposed staged expansion of national park and other protected areas on Minjerribah.
“Increasing the island’s protected area will result in the protection of the environment and threatened wildlife, improved access for visitors, increased protection of cultural heritage sites and the creation of new land management jobs.
“I am pleased that 10 years on, QPWS and the Quandamooka People remain committed to working together to protect this incredibly special part of Queensland.”
“I am excited that similar joint management arrangements are being implemented for Gheebulum Kunungai (Moreton Island) National Park, on Mulgumpin (Moreton Island), following the Federal Court of Australia’s recognition of the Quandamooka People’s Native Title connectivity, rights and interest on Mulgumpin”.