As the Minister for National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing I am proud that my department has made a significant contribution towards the Queensland Government’s commitment two years ago to improve Queensland’s economy and healthy lifestyle.
My department will continue to increase ecotourism opportunities, breathe new life into Queensland’s struggling racing industry, and encourage Queenslanders to become more involved in active recreation.
Over the past two years the government has worked hard to position Queensland as a world leader in ecotourism by 2020, by ensuring our national parks are easier and more accessible for all to enjoy.
We have released the Queensland Ecotourism Plan, and draft master plans for three gateway visitor centres - Mon Repos Turtle Centre, David Fleay Wildlife Park and Walkabout Creek Visitor Centre, and called for ‘Expressions of Interest’ for sustainable ecotourism initiatives in protected areas.
To make it easier and more cost-effective for people to visit our national parks, we have streamlined permit processes and are reviewing the online camping and permit booking service.
In the past year the management of national parks has been improved by:
amendments to the Nature Conservation Act 1992 to the number and type of tenure classes, and simplify the process for preparing, reviewing and amending national park management plans,
distributing $525,000 Friends of Parks grants to 31 organisations to carry out volunteering projects on national parks,
engaging a Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) Conservation Volunteer Coordinator and four external Friends of Parks coordinators to help protect and enhance national parks,
funding $4.5 million in pest management on QPWS managed estate, including $2.2 million on 82 strategic pest management projects,
reaching agreement with the Commonwealth Government to jointly deliver a four-year feral pig and other predator management initiative to support marine turtle recovery, and
carrying out more than 321 planned burns on QPWS managed lands over an area of approximately 660,000 hectares, and responding to over 310 wildfires across the state.
I am particularly proud of the Queensland Government’s efforts to encourage Queenslanders, especially children, to become more involved in active recreation.
The Queensland Government’s $47.8 million Get in the Game program has been a resounding success with the initial budget increasing by almost 300 percent to meet the demand.
To date, $18 million has been approved under Get Playing to support 220 facility development projects to ensure clubs have the facilities they need to encourage new members.
A further $6.8 million has been approved under Get Going to help clubs with initiatives such as promotional activities, equipment purchases and membership drives.
The third round of Get Started had an overwhelming response, with demand exceeding that in rounds 1 and 2 combined, and we expect Round 3 will help more than 20,000 children join a sport or recreation club.
We have also established a program called Nature Play Qld which aims to move kids from screen time to green time, to increase the amount of time spent in unstructured play outdoors.
The racing industry in Queensland has been given a new lease of life thanks to the efforts of the Queensland Government over the past two years.
From an industry that was languishing as a result of internal disputes and disunity, it’s now finding its stride with major reforms, including a new governance structure and increased funding in key areas such as country racing.
Queensland is benefiting from the re-vitalisation of an industry that contributes an estimated $855 million to the state’s economy, employs around 30,000 Queenslanders, and is now significantly re-engaging those who work in the industry, and those who enjoy racing.
YMCA QUEENSLAND YOUTH PARLIAMENT 2014
Lucy Stedman is this year's Buderim representative at the YMCA Queensland Youth Parliament.
The YMCA Queensland Youth Parliament (QYP) has been run by young people for young people aged 15-25 years for well over a decade and provides the largest apolitical environment where participants can engage with community issues as youth representatives. As well as providing an important link for Youth to influence Government, QYP is a fantastic opportunity for participants to improve confidence through interacting with participants of varying backgrounds and opinions. The program equips the leaders of tomorrow with the skills to change Queensland’s future.