Eastern ground parrot conservation works

Issued: 24 May 2023

The site at Mt Coolum will be restored to help conserve the population of ground parrots.

The site at Mt Coolum will be restored to help conserve the population of ground parrots.

The Department of Environment and Science (DES) is embarking on a $1 million program to improve and conserve the heathland habitat of the eastern ground parrot in the Mount Coolum National Park.

Acting Principal Conservation Officer Simon Skoczek said the restoration work in the Marcoola section of the national park was scheduled to begin in May 2023.

“This $1 million Ground Parrot Offsets project is critical to maintaining the viability of ground parrot habitat in the Mount Coolum National Park,” Mr Skoczek said.

“The Queensland Government is committed to protecting our magnificent environment and our unique fauna and flora, including the ground parrot.

“The ground parrot is shy and elusive and lives in coastal and subcoastal heathlands, feeding on seeds from sedges and grasses.

“They usually are bright green, with yellow and black markings and a long tail, and unfortunately they are listed as vulnerable in Queensland.

“Thanks to our partnership with the Kabi Kabi Traditional Owners, most of the Marcoola section will be designated a Special Management Area under the Nature Conservation Act 1992.

“A separate management plan will be developed for the Marcoola section, and that will allow rangers from my department to protect and restore the area’s heathland and natural and cultural values.

“Melaleucas have been encroaching on the heathland in the park. This is why we are prioritising an area of around 22 hectares in which these trees will be selectively removed, and the stumps injected with poison to prevent them from resprouting.

“The removal of the melaleucas will restore that area of the national park and provide habitat for the ground parrot, and we have developed a 20-year fire management plan to ensure the long-term conservation of the heathland ecosystem.”

Sunshine Coast Environment Council’s Liaison and Advocacy Officer, Narelle McCarthy said the project offered a promising opportunity for the recovery of the threatened South-Eastern Ground Parrot and the national park.

“The airport expansion unfortunately impacted increasingly rare coastal heathland which was providing important habitat for this elusive species,” Ms McCarthy said.

“This long-term science-based offset project has been carefully planned to allow the regeneration of suitable habitat to support the ground parrot and other heathland dependent species as well.

“With a biodiversity crisis and increasing pressures on the Sunshine Coast’s environment, projects like this highlight the need to expand our national park estate here and across Queensland to protect and preserve our native plants and animals.

The consultation undertaken by the department to ensure the concerns and feedback of stakeholders and the community was considered and is appreciated.”

Mr Skoczek said the Queensland Offset Fund received approximately $1 million from the Sunshine Coast Regional Council to offset land clearing for the expansion of the Sunshine Coast Airport runway.

“The airport expansion saw about eight hectares of coastal heathland cleared, and the Ground Parrot Offsets program will help counterbalance the loss of this habitat,” he said.

“The Queensland Government’s Offset Fund has received approximately $62.92 million in funding from developers since it was established in 2015.

“Currently, $57.45 million is allocated to twenty-six offsets projects designed to protect and preserve plants and animals across Queensland that have been impacted by development.

“Our Offset Fund will continue to counterbalance the impacts on our environment from important development projects by delivering conservation outcomes for impacted matters.”

For more information, please visit the offset project for the eastern ground parrot.