In Parliamentary Estimates on Thursday 10 December 2020, Amy MacMahon and I asked questions about the funding towards expanding national parks.
You can read the answer below or in the official Queensland Parliament Record of Proceedings (Hansard).
Dr MacMAHON: Director-General, before the election the then environment minister announced a commitment of $28 million for acquiring new land for protected areas and described it as an ‘initial investment’. Then in the budget we learned that in fact the amount will be spread over four years, meaning we will not reach the 17 per cent protected area target. When can we expect funding beyond this initial investment?
Mr Merrick: I thank the member for the question. Obviously in terms of the budget commitment it was for the period of the forward estimates, and that is what the former minister would have been referring to. In terms of achieving the 17 per cent, just to put that into context, that would require the government solely to buy all land in Queensland for three years. That is what would be required for us to get to 17 per cent, so it would not be reasonable nor feasible to achieve within a three-year period.
Mr BERKMAN: Is that to be taken as, essentially, an abandonment of the 17 per cent target? If not, in what time frame is that target purported to be achieved?
Mr Merrick: The government has committed to 17 per cent. I was just making reference to the time period of the forward estimates and the achievability of doing it within that period. Funding beyond the time frame of the forward estimates is of course a future decision of government.
Mr BERKMAN: Can the minister indicate the time frame within which the government aims to achieve the 17 per cent target?
Ms SCANLON: I thank the member for the question. We have made our four-year commitment clear. We will continue to strive towards reaching that 17 per cent target. As this budget outlines, we have allocated funding to increase protected areas in Queensland.