VALUABLE: An aerial shot of Curtis Island.
VALUABLE: An aerial shot of Curtis Island. Aerial Media Gladstone

OPINION: Prepare for a fight over national parks

THE debate about National Parks is an interesting one and will be hashed out for a while yet before we'll see any changes to legislation.

As Queensland, including this area, continues to look for the edge in the globally competitive tourism market, the idea to open national parks to well-managed eco-tourism ventures is certainly alluring.

The demand for these experiences is high and Queensland has a lot to offer.

As Gladstone's tourism

chief Darryl Branthwaite says, the pristine wilderness of Curtis Island National Park could add a lot to our tourism potential.

But Queensland National Parks president Graeme Barton makes a very strong case and it's one The Greens will fight voraciously before allowing any changes to the status quo.

They fought long and hard for the type of nature conservation that national parks offer with protection of biodiversity the most important value.

Mr Barton is right.

Regardless of how well a tourism venture is managed, there will be impacts.

Only 6 per cent of Queensland has national park status with the remainder

open to be used for other activities.

The idea has a powerful voice in Virgin Australia co-founder Brett Godfrey who is expected to meet soon with Queensland Environment Minister, Leeanne Enoch.

But there will be a fight.

For The Greens, this is as close to philosophical heartland as it gets.

They will fight this with all they have.

The State Government is desperately courting green approval, while at the same time spruiking the state's potential for jobs in eco-tourism.

It will be very interesting to see the outcome of Mr Godfrey's meeting with Ms Enoch.



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