The region has a history of voluntary community action supported by industry and government investment.
The South East Queensland (SEQ) community volunteers their time, resources, and knowledge for the planning and implementation of projects that provide benefits across the region. The capacity and skill to coordinate actions across properties is very important as 84% of land in the region is in freehold title managed by private landholders. There is a long history of success in cooperative volunteer management of natural assets in the region through Landcare, Coastcare, Waterwatch, and integrated catchment management (ICM) programs.
There are over 185 registered and peak natural asset management groups in SEQ with many other Bushcare and Friends of Parks, and other volunteer groups supported by local governments. These community and industry-led groups coordinate and support land managers to undertake activity at local and regional scales. The work of private landholders and farmers contributes to land, nature conservation, and water targets and the provision of many other benefits to the public. It is important adequate funding is available for strategic landscape-scale projects like maintaining and enhancing valuable large bushland areas across multiple local governments and water catchment areas. Maintaining and enhancing the extent and condition of natural assets in SEQ cannot be achieved by relying on the goodwill and efforts of volunteers alone. Government and industry also lead and support on-ground activities and provide the appropriate planning and policy support for landholders to achieve NRM Plan targets. The region has seen some growth in the ecological restoration industry, with dedicated, professional and experienced staff working in the natural resources sector.
Maintaining heritage values and landscapes is a vital part of the community’s sense of place, cultural identify, and well-being. This is particularly true for Traditional Owners whose cultural heritage creates and maintains links between ancestors, people, and the land. Planning and development decisions can unwittingly affect the values of traditional places. As with other urban regions across south-eastern Australia, SEQ contains a large heterogeneous Aboriginal population comprised of individuals and families drawn from communities from the region and across Australia.
SEQ is home to almost one third of Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. They consist of those who identify as descendants of the First Nation People of the region (Aboriginal Traditional Owners) and those who have moved to the region and made it their home (historical and contemporary residents).
The evidence emerging from research clearly demonstrates Aboriginal people’s consideration of the future, even accounting for climate change is significantly influenced and dominated by economic aspirations which are seen as fundamental survival strategies for their communities. Many other initiatives can be linked and/or run in parallel with climate change adaptation initiatives which can start to address some long-standing socio-economic issues and the capacity of Traditional Owners to be involved in natural resource management.
The vision of the Traditional Owners of SEQ and supporting actions were captured in “Our Plan: The South East Queensland Traditional Owner Cultural Resources Management Plan” (SEQTOLSMA 2008) which states:
Going forward to a future where our connection to SEQ country is widely recognised and Aboriginal Traditional Owners are fully engaged and involved in cultural resource management decision-making processes and actions on and about our country.
Headline Target: Community (C1, TO1)
By 2031, Traditional Owners and Aboriginal people, natural resource managers, government and non-government organisations will be resourced and working together to implement the SEQ NRM Plan and the SEQ Cultural Resources Management Plan (SEQTOLSMA 2008).