In 1992, the Federal Government and State Governments signed a Forestry Agreement reducing the amount of logging and preserving the forests. In Queensland, close to 1,000,000 hectares of State Forest in SouthEast Queensland was identified for this preservation, and with the expected result of no net loss for recreation. Thus the SouthEast Queensland Forest Agreement (SEQFA) was born.
For the protection of these forests the tenure of the land involved would be moved from under the Forestry Act 1959 to the Nature Conservation Act 1992, thereby moving management of the land from Department of Natural Resources to Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPW). This would occur in stages over 20 years, with 425,000 hectares in the first five-year stage.
The Nature Conservation Act 1992, required amendments bringing in a new land tenure of Forestry Reserve before declaring the land as one of the following classifications (with definitions). While the land is declared Forest Reserve it is managed by the Department of Natural Resources, until the consultative process is over and a Management Plan is ratified. The land tenure is then changed to one of the following classifications, each with certain restrictions:
|National Park (Scientific)
No Public access allowed.
|National Park (Recovery)||Ecologically sustainable, nature based activities are allowed provided they do not interfere with the preservation and presentation of the natural and cultural values of an area. Permits may be required and some activities may only be allowed in regulated areas only.||Vehicle use of
authorised roads or tracks.
|Conservation Park||Ecologically sustainable, nature based activities are allowed provided they do not interfere with the conservation of the natural and cultural values of an area. Domestic animals such as horses and dogs can be allowed only by regulation or approval in some circumstances.||As National Park except domestic animals such as horses and dogs can be allowed only by regulation or approval in some circumstances.|
|Resource Reserve||Controlled recreation uses of land are allowed, and where appropriate, while ensuring the protection of the natural and cultural values of an area. These areas should be maintained in a predominantly natural condition.||As for Conservation Park.|
|Forest Reserve||To be managed by the DNR in the manner as prior to the tenure change from State Forest or Timber Reserve EXCEPT that no timber extraction is permitted.||As per Forestry Act 1959 as amended.|
Considerations for change to National Park tenure include:
On the 18th October 2000, the Nature Conservation Act and Other Legislation Bill was passed in Queensland Parliament, moving 234,000 hectares into Forest Reserve.
In response to the SEQFA and amendments to the Nature Conservation Act and Other Legislation Bill, the Forest Recreation Reference Group was established in 1999 to create a forum of user groups, i.e. bushwalkers, horse riders, Four-Wheel-Drivers, rock-climbers, motorcycle riders, etc.
SouthEast Queensland was broken up into four sub-regions, South and West, North Coast and Inland, Bundaberg, and Gladstone. There are four Forest Recreation Reference Groups reflecting these four sub-regions.
There is a time frame of 5 years to change the tenure on this land.
Each Forest Reserve will be dealt with in turn, either on its own, or clustered with others depending on size, so that decision can be made about the right tenure for the tract of land. Forest Working Groups (FWGs) will accomplish this task.
The FRRGs' main tasks will then be to oversee the activity of the FWG in its area. FWGs will be formed by way of public notice and invitation to get interested parties together. Interested parties on FWG will include historical societies, progress associations, aboriginal groups, recreation user groups, and any other stakeholders in that forest.
Notification of FWG will be by the following methods:
What forests are included in this process?
To see the list of forests by number, name, the FRRG Sub-Region handling the forest, if the State Forest is a priority in the tenure change, and if so the area involved click here.
Note that there are 47 priority State Forests, totalling 151,983 hectares.
Once the five years is over, what next?
The first five years deals with 234,000 ha. There is still another 191,000 ha that will then be put through the process. It is hoped that in twenty years that the rest of the nearly 1,000,000 ha of State Forest will have similarly been treated.
If you need any further information contact Gavin Dale (Glasshouse Bushwalkers Club Inc.) at ua.gro.dnalsneeuqgniklawhsub@oi_sa