Queensland's natural gas sector has celebrated a landmark conservation initiative that will see nearly two thirds of Curtis Island, near Gladstone, set aside for environmental conservation, ensuring the protection of the island's unique ecology and heritage for future generations.
Queensland Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection, Andrew Powell, visited Curtis Island today to inspect the proposed establishment of more than 25,000 hectares of newly protected areas.
Minister Powell said: "I'm extremely pleased to see first-hand the results of government, business and the community working together to achieve such a significant result for the environment."
On behalf of the LNG projects, Australia Pacific LNG CEO, Page Maxson, welcomed the new conservation areas and said they "demonstrated the commitment of the industry to developing projects in an environmentally responsible way".
The total area of Curtis Island set aside for environmental protection will total 59%, compared to the 2% used by the LNG projects on the southern tip of Curtis Island.
This achievement has been made possible by significant funding from natural gas companies QGC, Santos GLNG and Australia Pacific LNG.
Through a combined effort, the companies purchased a former grazing property and associated leases in order to transfer the titles to the State Government and remove cattle from the island, enabling the long-term restoration of environmental values.
"The purchase of this property is in addition to the $34.5 million already committed by natural gas companies for the establishment, preservation and management of an environmental precinct on the southern end of Curtis Island," Mr Maxson said.
"And, the property transfer adds to existing and newly declared areas of national park and conservation within the Curtis Island Environmental Management Precinct.
"Not only are we helping to protect and maintain the significant ecological, environmental and heritage areas, our funding is enabling the expansion of conservation areas on Curtis Island that will be made accessible for the enjoyment of the community."
The three LNG projects all received approval from the Queensland and Australian Governments based on the requirement to provide environmental offsets for their developments.