State Govt purchases Western Qld station with $21m donation

Beef Central, 17/04/2024

Vergemont Station Longreach. Source: Ian WIlkinson

THE Queensland Government has purchased another Western Queensland cattle station, with the help of a $21 million philanthropic donation.

A partnership with The Nature Conservancy, which brokered the donation, sealed the purchase of the 352,589ha Vergemont Station which was owned by the Bode family and has been on the market since 2016. The Government says could be the single largest donation for land protection in Australia.

The station adds to the Queensland Government’s Melrose and Tonkoro aggregation, which were purchased earlier this year. When these properties are combined with the surrounding Mount Windsor Nature Refuge, Pullen Pullen Special Wildlife Reserve and Goneaway and Diamantina National Parks, it will create a protected area corridor that conserves almost one and a half million hectares of Channel Country bioregion.

The sale has been rumoured for months and has been causing concern among the locals concerned about the future of opal mining in the area – which it appears the Government is still allowing.

At least 300,000ha of the property is intended for National Park following a transition period tat will enable the former landowner to transition their business off the property.

The remainder will continue to support opal mining operations.

“I recognise that there are important Queensland boulder opal mining interests on and around Vergemont Station,” environment minister Leanne Linard said.

“In recent months I have spoken to local mayors and met with the Remote Area Planning and Development Board to discuss concerns that dedicating Vergemont Station as a protected area would have a detrimental effect on their community,”

“We will work to ensure an ecologically sustainable co-existence between the existing opal mining operations and conservation of the important natural and cultural values on the property.

“We will allow small-scale opal mining interests to continue their operations on suitable areas within the property.”

Vergemont Station sits at the headwaters of the Lake Eyre Basin. The Government says it contains significant riverine and biodiversity conservation values, including key habitat for the endangered night parrot, vulnerable yellow-footed rock-wallaby and highly restricted Opalton grasswren.

Almost all of Vergemont covered in remnant vegetation, and the land lies across two of Queensland’s 13 bioregions.

The Government says the property contains 34 different regional ecosystems, ranking higher than 90pc of existing national parks in Queensland in terms of regional ecosystem representation.

“Eight of these regional ecosystems are not represented as comprehensively on any other property in Queensland,” its said in its press release.

“This includes an area of ‘of concern’ mulga woodlands on quaternary deposits regional ecosystem that is approximately the size of Lamington National Park and will significantly increase the protection of this type of regional ecosystem from 1.43pc to 10.35%pcof its extent.

“Much of this broader protected area landscape sits within the Maiawali First Nations People’s ancestral lands and is understood to contain significant Indigenous cultural heritage values. The government will engage with the First Nations people to undertake cultural heritage assessments and future planning.”

Ms Linard said the

“Dedication of Vergemont Station, and the recently acquired Tonkoro and Melrose Stations, as national park, will also generate a range of economic activity in the local region,” Ms Linard said.

“This includes enhanced tourism opportunities, the employment of locally-based rangers and the construction of new infrastructure and land management activities such as pest and fire management actions which will be sourced from local contractors where suitable.”

Source: Queensland Government


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  1. Anne Moscrop, 18/04/2024

    The government’s can’t and don’t manage the Parks they have now. This is good land going to waste in the Government hands. That is…no pest control and fire hazards. Should not have happened

  2. Ruth Jocelyn Doran, 18/04/2024

    Another piece of good country being relegated to weeds, feral animals and fire hazard. Also reduction in local population resulting in detriment to local towns.

  3. Perhaps some of the $21m should have been directed towards improved maintenance of existing protected areas (ie. pest and weed control)

  4. Ross Groves, 17/04/2024

    Yet another haven for pests and weeds sponsored by the State Government of Qld . GO LABOR!!

  5. Peter Dunn, 17/04/2024

    It would seem reasonable that the questions in the minds of many landholders will be, will this be another government plant nursery for feral weeds, and an animal nursery for feral animals, not to mention a fire load reservoir awaiting a bad fire season? Time will tell.

  6. Mike Teelow, 17/04/2024

    What a waste of good cattle country
    It will be a breeding ground for feral animals

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