The Lakes becomes Queensland's newest National Park

An aerial view of The Lakes
The Lakes An aerial view of The Lakes © Jarrod Booard / Streamline Media

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The Nature Conservancy (TNC) celebrates a new win for nature and people, with the dedication of The Lakes as one of Queensland’s newest national parks. “We are thrilled to see this fantastic biodiversity hotspot become a protected place for nature to thrive and people to enjoy,” said Tony Jupp, Director of Conservation at TNC Australia.

In 2022, TNC, with generous support from the Wyss Foundation and Haley Mellin’s Art into Acres initiative through Re:wild, supported the acquisition for protection of The Lakes by the Queensland Government, adding more than 43,000 hectares of significant conservation value habitat to Queensland’s protected area estate.

 “The Wyss Foundation is proud to support the acquisition and protection of The Lakes. This region, part of Gudjala country and home to endangered species, saline lakes, wetlands, and cultures indigenous to Australia, has now been upgraded to a national park thanks to the efforts of The Nature Conservancy, Art into Acres through Re:wild, and the Australian state of Queensland,” said Molly McUsic, President of the Wyss Foundation. “The new national park will give Australia’s biodiversity and indigenous heritage a place to thrive.”

“It is an honour to support 43,330 hectares being added to the National Parks estate,” said artist and conservationist Dr Haley Mellin. “These unique lakes and their surrounding woodlands and escarpments on top of the Great Dividing Range provide key habitat for wildlife and their protection will support biodiversity in Australia.” 

“The Lakes has significant conservation values, including endangered regional ecosystems and ecosystems that have low or no protection in the existing protected area estate, such as the tall eucalypt forests dominated by Lemon-scented Gums, and Northern Cypress Pine woodlands. These forests support a high density of arboreal animals including Northern Greater Gliders and Common Brushtail Possums,” Mr Jupp said. 

“We are delighted to have been able to help to protect it for nature conservation and enable people to come to visit the area and see the unique lakes,” he said.

“Vital habitat for a number of species, such as Squatter Pigeons and possibly Spectacled Hare-wallabies, is now protected with the creation of The Lakes National Park,” said Dr Thalie Partridge, Acting Protected Landscapes Director for TNC Australia. A tiny, threatened skink, known as the Vine-thicket Fine-lined Slider has also been recorded on the property and recent biodiversity surveys recorded a unique species of endemic Giant Burrowing Cockroach,” she said.

With the protection of The Lakes, Australia takes another crucial step towards its commitment to protect 30% of our lands and 30% of our oceans before 2030, to tackle the loss of biodiversity.

Dr James Fitzsimons, Senior Advisor, Global Protection Strategies for TNC, said the world has come together behind the goal of protecting 30% of the world’s lands, freshwaters and oceans, with 196 nations committing to achieve 30x30. “To realize this global vision, national governments, local communities, NGOs, private landholders and funders must work together to create lasting protection of the most critical places needed to support life on Earth,” he said. “TNC is applying cutting-edge science, unlocking new forms of innovative funding, launching collaborative partnerships, and empowering nations to help the world reach this ambitious – but achievable – goal." 

In 2023, The Nature Conservancy released the report Pathways to 30x30 outlining the most effective ways for Australia to achieve 30x30. 

The Lakes A fantastic biodiversity hotspot has become a protected place for nature to thrive and people to enjoy.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organisation dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we focus on getting things done efficiently and with the greatest positive impact for conservation. We’re a trusted organisation working in more than 70 countries and territories around the world on innovative solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. To learn more about The Nature Conservancy in Australia, follow us on Facebook.