Ipswich City Council has purchased 65 hectares of prime conservation land at Woolshed, which will be added to the Mount Grandchester Conservation Estate.
Mayor Teresa Harding said Council had been working with the owners for some time, with the acquisition was confirmed in December.
The Ipswich Enviroplan Program and Levy funds will be used to purchase the land for a six-figure sum.
Mayor Harding said the land purchase would deliver on council’s commitment to preserve and protect Ipswich’s natural environment and cultural heritage, and create opportunities for environmental tourism.
“We are delighted to secure this land for the community. It is important not only for Ipswich, but for all of South East Queensland,” she said.
“This will increase the capacity for nature-based recreation activities and enhances visitor experience when the estate is activated and developed.
“It also secures and actively restores vegetation containing unique patches of rocky outcrops and habitat areas for significant species, including the vulnerable koala and glossy-black cockatoo.
“It will protect Aboriginal cultural heritage landscape values as well as aesthetic values along the regional significant Little Liverpool Range corridor.”
The council acquisition will double the width of the protected area for the north-south wildlife movement corridor at its narrowest “pinch” point to 1000m from the current 400m.
The Mayor said wider protected and managed corridors would support safer movement for wildlife through the landscape.
It also increases the size of the Mount Grandchester Conservation Estate by 7% to 1042ha.
Chair of the Environment and Sustainability Committee, Councillor Russell Milligan welcomed the acquisition.
“Larger protected and managed areas are critically important refuges for species, particularly when bearing in mind the cumulative impacts of climate change,” he said.
“This will enhance overall protection and sustainable uses of the natural environment within the city. It contains environmental significance and biodiversity values.
“The land’s acquisition and ongoing management protects its environmental values now and for future generations.”
It contains existing eucalypt forest as well as providing opportunity to restore previously cleared pasture land to a near historical remnant state.
The Mount Grandchester Conservation Estate has already seen the recent completion of a five-year project to plant and establish 12,500 koala habitat trees.
In addition, the Grandchester Koala Offset Project was delivered in partnership between Powerlink Queensland, Healthy Land and Water, and Ipswich City Council to rehabilitate 26ha of cleared grazing farmland as well as the establishment of a State Nature Refuge.
In recent years koala sightings have been increasing and the new acquisition will be valuable in broadening that habitat range in an important area for the species and many others, including glossy-black cockatoos.