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Natural assets such as air and soil, waterways and wetlands, rainforests, woodlands, forests and grasslands, coastal environments, as well as culture and people strengthen South East Queensland’s (SEQ) identity, health and liveability.
Key challenges facing these assets and our ability to sustainably manage them include climate change, population growth, and changes in how land is used.
To conserve and effectively manage the natural and cultural assets of SEQ, we need to better understand what and where they are, their current conditions and trends over time, as well as the investments in place to protect them.
In this way, we can leverage on successes, identify gaps and contribute to a collective vision for the future state of our region supported by sustainable use of its natural assets.
Natural resource management (NRM) is the suite of plans and actions for the protection and improvement of these natural assets. An NRM plan puts together a coordinated set of actions that seek to conserve, manage, or enhance these natural assets through proactive (planning) actions. The SEQ NRM Plan documents this vision with agreed programs and actions for sustaining the health of the region.
The plan is a living document which has been around now for over a decade. It is reviewed regularly to ensure currency to changing circumstances.
The first plan was created in 2009. The last major update to the plan was released in 2016, and a review is currently underway with a view to publishing an updated plan in 2021.
Healthy Land and Water is providing the leadership in the review of the SEQ NRM Plan on behalf of the Australian and Queensland Governments and our members, with input from the community. This includes evaluating performance against the set targets for each of the 10 stipulated targets, brokering collaboration and engagement with key stakeholders, promoting improved understanding and articulation of Traditional Owner aspirations, identifying gaps and collate bespoke implementation plans. Our goal is to make SEQ an icon for its natural wealth, its liveability, and its people.
Through the implementation of innovative and science-based projects and initiatives, training and workshops, collaboration and more, Healthy Land and Water and its members are working to improve and protect SEQ’s landscapes, farmland, waterways, coastal environments, and biodiversity.
“Having access to clean water and air, food and housing, protection from pollutants, and access to places that positively influence our state of mind and improve our connection to the environment improve our quality life and health.”
– Julie McLellan
CEO, Healthy Land and Water
Purpose of the NRM Plan
The current SEQ NRM Plan contains a set of targets designed to assist with application of a collaborative approach and articulate the needs of the community (i.e. cultural, recreation and health), and those of a sustainable environment.
Through funding support from the Australian Government, the SEQ NRM Plan is designed to guide existing planning efforts from all levels of government, community, and industry in relation to natural resource management.
The plan identifies priority programs and is a useful document to ensure appropriate monitoring, evaluation, and reporting takes place.
The four main purposes of the SEQ NRM Plan are:
- To complement and inform state of the environment reporting and the preparation and review of the SEQ Regional Plan.
- To inform the preparation of local government planning schemes and policies, state government policy, government and non-government corporate plans, property plans.
- To inform the preparation of planning and investment associated with yearly and long-term business cycles at regional, sub-regional and property levels to ensure funding and community actions contribute to the achievement of regional targets.
- To advise state agencies and local governments in the assessment of development applications and activities that may significantly constrain the achievement of regional natural resource targets.
The targets set out in the plan are designed to ensure we maintain our region’s natural assets and our quality of life. By valuing natural assets and coordinating action at the property, catchment, and local government scale, we can build and protect the overall prosperity and wellbeing of the region.
The SEQ NRM Plan is recognised through the South East Queensland Regional Plan, ShapingSEQ, and Healthy Land and Water provides plan implementation updates to the Queensland and Australian Governments on a regular basis.
There has been much action and many wins over the lifetime of the NRM Plan.
This is the result of true collaboration and investment from Australian, State and Local Governments, community and environmental groups, industry and research, First Nation People and landholders.
The community of SEQ has on average tripled the value of original funds invested by governments and industry by providing labour and other resources to plan and implement local on ground projects.
A recent snapshot of some of the activities includes:
- Over 175 collaborations resulting in improved natural resource management (2016-2019).
- 40 projects with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
- 9 Indigenous people employed in projects on Country.
- 13 workshops held with 102 participants.
- Management activities for two cultural heritage sites.
- However, a number of barriers are still impacting on communities’ and Traditional Owners’ ability to effectively and fully participate in natural resource management. It is anticipated that the current revision will highlight the enduring barriers and jointly investigate bespoke options.
In the lifetime of the 2004-2014 SEQ NRM Plan, Natural resource management projects in SEQ delivered over 2,350 kilometres of creek bank stabilisation works, 11,460 hectares of bushland management and revegetation, and 16,523 hectares of weed management).
5 yearly review underway
Healthy Land and Water reviews data sets, analysis methods, and progress against a set of targets every five years, with support from academic/research bodies, government, and community experts. Progress is measured against baselines created in 2009 when the first plan was released.
This process is currently underway, with Healthy Land and Water coordinating a review of the latest data on the region’s natural assets.
We are using an expert science committee to determine if the trends detected in the last review are continuing or have since changed.