NORTH Stradbroke Aboriginal leaders have vowed to preserve the island’s environment on World Wetlands Day.
Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation chief executive Cameron Costello said the island was believed to have some of the planet’s oldest wetlands and these should be saved for the world to enjoy.
Today was a chance to remind south-east Queenslanders about the precious environmental and cultural sanctuary they had right at their front door.
Minjerribah, or North Stradbroke Island, had more than 75 wetlands including lakes, swamps and creeks, most of which were dependent on groundwater.
Extensive research confirmed the wetlands – some of which were included in the Moreton Bay Ramsar site –were significant in terms of their biodiversity, as community and cultural assets and as recorders of past environmental change.
Minjerribah’s iconic Blue Lake was believed to have maintained a stable ecosystem, in the face of external climate and other changes, for up to 7500 years.
Mr Costello said Minjerribah’s traditional owners, the Quandamooka people, had always known how special the island was and would preserve these values.
“Minjerribah and its magnificent wetlands are something all south-east Queenslanders should be proud of and today is a good day to think about how lucky we are to have such a wonderful place so close to so many people and our capital city,’’ he said.
“We have just had another busy summer holiday season, when thousands of local and international visitors again enjoyed the island experience.
“In a few months our fourth Quandamooka Festival will get underway and provide a range of events through which south-east Queenslanders can come and enjoy Quandamooka Country, including Minjerribah-North Stradbroke Island.
“We invite anyone who has not yet had the chance to see this wonderful place to make 2017 the year they are going to do something about that.
“We also invite all south-east Queenslanders to support our efforts to protect this special place and these important wetlands.’’
World Wetlands Day is celebrated internationally each year on February 2. It marks the anniversary of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention) in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971.
Quandamooka is made up of more than 2000 traditional owners from Moreton Bay. QYAC is the joint manager, with the Queensland government, of the Naree Budjong Djara National Park, the largest single recreational infrastructure on Minjerribah.