Sanctuary Retreat ecotourism operators have received a ‘green reward’ for their continuing role in protecting a pristine rainforest corridor in Far North Queensland. Paul Verity and Susan Kelly of Mission Beach have been rewarded for their continuing conservation commitment at Brooks Beach Nature Refuge.
As local landowners they were some of the first in Queensland to create a nature refuge to preserve the special wildlife and flora species on their property. The Sanctuary Retreat entered a conservation agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency in 1998 to protect 17.2 hectares of rainforest.
Environment Minister Desley Boyle said the Green Rewards Program aimed to preserve open space and help ensure landowners were not disadvantaged by paying land tax if they decide to protect a parcel of land as a nature refuge. Sanctuary Retreat will receive $1779.13 this year from the Green Rewards Program to reimburse its land tax.
Under the Green Rewards Program eligible owners of nature refuges can have their land tax reimbursed and – for land bought after July 1, 2003 – their stamp duty refunded.
Nature refuges become a protected area under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 while remaining the property of the landholder and once an area is declared a nature refuge, the EPA provides advice and assistance to landholders about land management, plant and animal identification, and pest and weed control.