One million hectares of threatened night parrot habitat will be protected for future generations when Mount Windsor in western Queensland is declared a nature refuge.
Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said the Mount Windsor Nature Refuge – located 230km west of Longreach and covering about 500,000 hectares – is the largest nature refuge in Queensland.
“Located on the Mayne River, it adjoins the Pullen Pullen Reserve Nature Refuge and Diamantina and Goneaway National Parks,” Ms Enoch said.
“Despite the arid environment, the nature refuge provides habitat for endangered and vulnerable species, including the timid night parrot.
“It’s also home to the greater bilby, kowari, purple-necked rock-wallaby, dunnarts, hopping mice, and a large variety of reptiles.
“The vast herbfields and grasslands include claypans and ironstone plains that are occasionally flooded and form small shallow wetlands.
“Tablelands and plateaus with hard cap rock are features of the landscape, and spinifex grasslands offer protection for a range of wildlife species.
“The nature reserve extends about 100kms from east to west and north to south, making it a significant natural corridor for species to migrate.”
Landowner Bob McDonald said Mount Windsor was hard yet beautiful country.
“The setting sun reflects vivid colours of red and orange on the tablelands and transforms the vast outback sky into shades of pink and purple,” Mr McDonald said.
“Spectacular rugged ranges with woodlands of gidgee and lancewood comprise large areas of Mount Windsor.
“The rivers and creeks are lined with coolabah and river red gums, and the braided river channels spread like green veins across the expansive landscape.
“Natural waterholes along the Mayne River provide permanent water and natural refuge areas for wildlife.”
Ms Enoch said McDonald Holdings own the Mount Windsor property and they also own Ballara Nature Refuge and Rutland Plains Nature Refuge.
“Following the addition of Mount Windsor Nature Refuge, McDonald Holdings are the owner of the greatest area of nature refuges in Queensland, and are responsible for protecting over 900,000ha of conservation-significant land in Queensland,” she said.
“Today, cattle are sustainably grazed on Mount Windsor by the McDonald family, who have managed the land for over 50 years, while large areas of Mount Windsor remain in near natural condition and function as refuge areas for native wildlife.”
The McDonald family are working with Bush Heritage Australia (BHA), which owns and manages the Pullen Pullen Reserve Nature Refuge next door.