Coast national park grows by 744 hectares
THE Mooloolah River National Park will be 744 hectares larger following the Palaszczuk Government decision to it add state forest containing habitat for threatened species.
Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles said the addition would conserve diverse old growth forest and wetlands.
Only two years ago the area was being considered for a motorcycle park and its northern section was under threat from the early design for the new Caloundra interchange.
"The area also contains essential habitat for 15 species of frog, including the Wallum froglet," Dr Miles said.
"It is also host to at least 10 species of migratory bird including the endangered Coxen's Fig Parrot.
"This upgrade from state forest to national park will conserve the biological diversity and natural and cultural values of this important area of the Sunshine Coast.
"That's 14% of the existing Beerwah State Forest converted to national park - and expanding Mooloolah River National Park to a total of about 1670 hectares.
"We are working collaboratively with Department of Transport and Main Roads and key stakeholders to protect the corridor, which will almost double the size of nearby Mooloolah National Park, for future generations to enjoy," Dr Miles said.
Minister for Main Roads and Road Safety Mark Bailey said his department had worked hard to minimise the impact of the $929.3 million Bruce Highway - Caloundra Road to Sunshine Motorway upgrade which is adjacent to this area.
"The initial design of the upgrade would have impacted around 35 hectares of the Beerwah State Forest but the current design only requires 12 hectares, which we hope to reduce further," Mr Bailey said.
"We were able to reduce the impact as a result of extensive consultation and by working closely with a range of stakeholders including Sunshine Coast Environment Council and the Save Steve Irwin Way Forest group.
"The Palaszczuk Government was elected with a commitment to genuine consultation and community engagement and the improved interchange upgrade and the expansion of the Mooloolah River National Park is a clear example of this."
Sunshine Coast Environment Council campaigner Narelle McCarthy said the importance of the decision could not be underestimated.
"This dedication contributes significantly to protecting biodiversity and provides essential landscape connectivity and natural amenity," she said.
"By engaging with the community, Minister Miles and Minister Bailey appreciated the outstanding conservation and amenity values of this area.
"Through collaboration and the efforts of departmental staff, this expansion of the Mooloolah River National Park represents an integral part of the Sunshine Coast's celebrated natural environment and character."