Mission Beach celebrates new nature refuge

October 25, 2018

The Mission Beach community will celebrate next week when a long-running campaign to save a critical patch of cassowary habitat culminates in a new nature refuge.

Community members are gathering on Tuesday (30 October) at Lot 66 – a section of remnant rainforest that grabbed national headlines 10 years ago when former Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett pre-empted state and local government decision-making processes to rule out plans for a sub-division.

Queensland Trust for Nature and local conservation group C4 will unveil the nature refuge sign at the event, which is open to the public. The two organisations bought Lot 66 in 2011 after a major fundraising effort.

Queensland Trust for Nature’s Tanya Pritchard said the recent change in tenure, to a nature refuge, meant the Mission Beach community’s campaign to protect the 24ha site was now complete.

“It’s great to see Lot 66 join the 500 other nature refuges that have been gazetted in Queensland,” she said.

C4 president Peter Rowles said ongoing protection on strategic private land was critical to connecting large areas of publicly-owned habitat. He said Lot 66, also known as Garrett’s Corridor, gave cassowaries access to seasonal coastal food supplies.

Mission Beach Cassowaries’ Liz Gallie, a major player in the campaign to save the land, paid tribute to decades of community commitment and cassowary-focused partnerships. She said other important cassowary corridors at Mission Beach also needed protection.

Terrain NRM’s Tony O’Malley said Lot 66 was a critical link in the longest and widest east-west rainforest corridor in Australia, a stretch of land along Walter Hill Range from Mission Beach to Ravenshoe.

Terrain commissioned a report that identified cassowary corridors at Mission Beach and contributed to Mr Garrett protecting Lot 66 from residential subdivision, and helped with the partnership between Queensland Trust for Nature and C4.

“These groups have made an amazing contribution to the Cassowary Coast environmental landscape,’’ Mr O’Malley said. “We encourage governments to consider rates discounts for landowners with nature refuge agreements, as Douglas Shire does.”

Ms Pritchard called on landholders interested in conserving important habitats on their land to contact the Queensland Trust for Nature.

The Lot 66 celebration is on Tuesday 30 October at 4.30pm at the top of Mission Circle, off the Tully-Mission Beach Rd.