Curtis Island opens up with land set aside as protected area

A PARCEL of land on Curtis Island - home to three of Australia's biggest gas projects - has been declared a protected area by the State Government.

Environment and Heritage Protection Minister Andrew Powell and National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing Minister Steve Dickson have announced that 2900 hectares of land has been set aside on the island's southern end.

Mr Powell said the land was part of the environmental management precinct next to the LNG  industrial site, and had been purchased with funding committed by Curtis Island LNG companies as environmental offsets.

"This is a significant step towards the fulfilment of important environmental offset requirements as a condition of approval of the Curtis Island LNG project," Mr Powell said.

"The declaration of this protected area represents a win-win for both the public and environment, as it adds significant portions of high conservation value land for the community to enjoy.

"It will add about 1912 hectares to the existing Curtis Island National Park and about 1000 hectares to Curtis Island Conservation Park, increasing the protected area to more than 17,100 hectares."

Mr Dickson said the LNG companies were committed to funding the management of the protected areas for the next 25 years.

"This arrangement allows Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service to oversee management of the new protected area, recognising their expertise in land management," Mr Dickson said. 

"The public will now have access to a previously closed track network, and enhanced conservation management and recreation opportunities will be established, all funded by the private sector."

Mr Dickson said QPWS had upgraded some of the property's existing infrastructure and roads to improve public access.

The department will also focus its conservation and pest control programs on the island to protect the vulnerable nesting flatback turtle population and Yellow Chat bird.

"The additions to the protected area estate, plus the existing national park, conservation park and state forest, will see more than 30,000 hectares of Curtis Island preserved and managed by QPWS for the community to enjoy," Mr Dickson said.