The Nature Conservancy Australia (TNC) is delighted to announce the purchase of two adjoining properties of significant conservation values by the Queensland Government.
Located 630 kilometres north-west of Cairns, adjoining properties Richardson Station and Bramwell Station cover a total land area of 131,900 hectares.
The purchase price for the Bramwell and Richardson properties was supported by a grant from The Nature Conservancy Australia. TNC brokered contributions from charitable foundations, including up to USD $2.362 million towards the purchase of Richardson Station from the Wyss Foundation and from artist Haley Mellin’s Art into Acres initiative.
Dr James Fitzsimons, Director of Conservation and Science for TNC Australia, said the purchase of Richardson Station and Bramwell Station by the Queensland Government was a great achievement for conservation.
“The properties present significant conservation values with a number of threatened and under-represented ecosystems including distinctive sinkhole wetlands. Critical habitat for the endemic cycad (Cycas yorkiana) and a range of other endemic, restricted or threatened species will also be protected through this acquisition.
“They also offer high value for connectivity with other protected areas and resilience to climate change which is critical for biodiversity protection,” Dr Fitzsimons said.
Molly McUsic, President of The Wyss Foundation, said it was proud to support the outstanding track record of First Nations peoples in protecting and managing their Country, working with local communities and the Queensland Government.
“The purchase and protection of these important properties illustrates how local communities across Australia are contributing to the global goals of protecting 30% of the Earth’s lands and oceans by 2030,” Ms McUsic said.
“This important purchase will safeguard the property’s rich biodiversity and conserve the headwaters of a critical tributary that feeds the Great Barrier Reef,” Ms Mellin said.
Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon said some of the property will return to First Nations ownership and management.
Minister Scanlon said the purchase was highly strategic and represents a major win for both the environment and the local economy.
“The lands also provide further opportunity to protect the Great Barrier Reef by stabilising two catchment areas that flow into the Great Barrier Reef lagoon,” Ms Scanlon said.
Ms Scanlon said the existing Junction Roadhouse on Richardson Station at the intersection of the Bamaga Road and the start of the “Old Telegraph Track” would remain.
“The roadhouse and tourist park are vital to the local economy and the tourism industry and we will ensure provisions are made to allow these facilities to continue operating,” Ms Scanlon said.
The purchase of the Bramwell and Richardson stations comes shortly after the purchase of The Lakes for protection by the Queensland Government, a purchase also supported by a grant from TNC, who brokered contribution of up to $US1.829 million from the Wyss Campaign for Nature.
Dr Fitzsimons said the protection of important values on these properties is a significant milestone not only for conservation in Queensland but also for Australia’s commitment to “30 by 30” and biodiversity protection, with new biodiversity conservation targets to be negotiated this spring at the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Conference of the Parties in Kunming, China. “A strong commitment is paramount to tackle the growing loss of ecosystems and species and preserve the critical role they play in carbon storage, water quality and food provision,” said Dr Fitzsimons.
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