Paddock to be considered in plan
NOW that the decision has been made to appoint consultants to develop a master plan for Morgan Park, the next issue is how to get back 284 hectares of the reserve known as the Kangaroo Paddock.
The huge chunk of Morgan Park was first gazetted in 1978 and in 1988 areas were fenced to enable research on grazing by domestic stock and kangaroos.
The grazing research has now ceased, but in 1992 there was also a trial of direct seeding of native tree and shrub species.
Since then there has been no direct use of the park, however it is a resources reserve and is the only protected area within 20kilometres of Warwick. It is also now proposed to be converted to a conservation park in recognition of these values.
However Southern Downs Regional Mayor Ron Bellingham wants it back.
“The land was donated to the community of Warwick so I find it surprising that the state is somewhat reticent to give it back,” he said.
“But really, the vegetation management issue is probably the big issue – whether the paddock is usable for anything.
“Access to the Kangaroo Paddock for walking and recreation is already there, but council wants to have overall control, as we had, prior to giving the paddock to DNR for their project of studying kangaroos.”
Councillor Bellingham said the paddock would still be considered as part of the masterplan.
“In the absence of a decision, I believe it is appropriate for the community to plan across the whole area, as if the paddock had been returned,” he said.
“Hopefully we will have some indication as to the intent of the government soon, however they have indicated a willingness to be involved in the development of the masterplan.
“It was a council initiative to seek the return of the paddock in line with our 150th celebrations.”
Department of Environment and Resource Management Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) regional manager Rob Murphy said the resources reserve was not lying dormant and was “an important part of Queensland’s protected areaestate”.
“QPWS is currently negotiating with Southern Downs Regional Council to formalise a trustee agreement over the area to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the declaration of the city ofWarwick,” he said.
“Morgan Park Resources Reserve is the only protected area in the eastern Darling Downs that preserves the significant regional ecosystems of narrow-leafed red ironbark, grey box, brown box and grey box woodland.”