Report Card 2020 launch video transcript

 

Welcome to 2020! We’re now in our 20th year of producing the South East Queensland Report Card.

The team that’s behind the Report Card has continued to monitor and evaluate the condition of our waterways in South East Queensland. We also monitor the condition in association with the economic and social benefits that we get from our waterways here in South East Queensland.

Waterways monitoring is about the health of the aquatic ecosystems. It informs us about their resilience and now we see clearly the links between the resilience of the waterways and the resilience of the whole community – that’s socially and economically.

It’s been a strange year with COVID and it’s really rammed home the importance of waterways for community health. We’ve all seen the high recreational use on the water and alongside, people running, walking and cycling, the family’s picnicking and the school children during the school shutdown. We’ve seen it with our own eyes and we picked it up anecdotally in our surveys, and that’s been extremely important for individual health and the health of the community more generally, and economically as well.

The rating isn’t a standalone rating. We include a social benefits rating which tells us all the social insights as to what people value around the magnificent waterways in South East Queensland – that includes the beaches, the bays, the estuaries, and the fresh water. Most of our freshwater is out in the western catchments and that’s where we intend to keep a real focus in the coming years. One of the key issues around the condition of waterways is having really great intact vegetation. That vegetation is vital to the stability and to the health and well-being, not only for species, but for seagrass and for our own recreational and water quality supplies.

As we’ve incorporated better technology into the monitoring, we’ve been able to do better monitoring with less expense. That’s allowed us to reveal what’s happening in vegetation patterns in the catchment with finer resolution. There have been some surprises; for example, the amount of healthy wetland left in some catchments is just a tiny, tiny fraction of what was there before urban development began. Moreton Bay is the receiving water for all of our coastal catchments, so in some ways, it’s the great integrator of the health of the system. The bay’s Report Card grade is gradually improving still from 10 years ago, when a lot of pollution and sediment arrived in the bay in the last big wet time. Now this year it’s looking like La Niña might be upon us, so we might be in for a wet summer and so, look out Moreton Bay – and we’ll be there monitoring to see how it’s going.

It would be remiss of me not to mention that this takes a partnership. This 20 years of partnership has involved the state government, the water utilities and all of our local government members here in South East Queensland.

The investment that has that stemmed from the Report Card data – those 20 years ago and up till now, has resulted in real difference in the catchment – we are seeing dramatic improvements. We’re looking to reinvent our Report Card so that it delivers an integrated monitoring program that informs decisions in a very dynamic and real-time way. We will be broadening from not just waterways, but also to include all aspects of natural resource management in South East Queensland. The future of our Report Card will involve not only the people and interacting with the environment, but understanding the causal loop and the system, and understanding how those decisions are made. So, watch this space – the future Report Card is going to be exciting.

20 years of reporting doesn’t just happen. I’d like to acknowledge the team at Healthy Land and Water and the team at the Department of Environment and Science. Together, they’ve constantly evolved and changed and caught up with modern technology to really make the data that underpins this Report Card robust and with the ability to inform great decision making for South East Queensland and in particular, into the future.

Our community is very proud of the Logan and Albert rivers and all the smaller waterways that run into them. Their health is vitally important for the future of our city because the environment is something our community loves to enjoy and we need to preserve it and protect it if we’re going to maintain those values. Logan City Council has a number of ongoing initiatives for these waterways,
including our Rivers and Wetlands Recovery Plan and our 50-year vision for the Logan and Albert rivers. This not only ensures healthier and cleaner waterways for our Logan community, it also means improved water quality downstream and ultimately less sediment flowing into Moreton Bay. As this year’s Report Card shows, our hard work is paying off and I encourage people to visit us in Logan, enjoy our waterways, natural environments and see everything our city has to offer.

Our local waterways are where locals picnic, where our kids swim, and are a magnet for visitors throughout the year. But of course, our waterways are not only important to our community. They are the end of a line for river systems across South East Queensland, which all snake their way through the region and feed into our local creeks, our rivers, and ultimately Moreton Bay. This road map of regional rivers is why organizations such as Healthy Land and Water and their annual Report Card are so very important in helping to evaluate the entire waterway system. With the health of the bay and our waterways often connected to conditions and actions well beyond our boundaries, it provides Redland City Council, our local government neighbours and the community with trusted information about the issues and pressures we need to focus on.

Waterways and wetlands on our Sunshine Coast are one of our region’s most valued natural assets. They are the arteries of our natural environment which supports the overall liveability of our region. I’m pleased to see the 2020 Healthy Land and Water Report Card has reinforced this point, ranking our three coastal catchments – the Maroochy river, Mooloolah river and Pumicestone passage – amongst the highest in South East Queensland for their economic and social benefits rating. We have placed a high priority on working to ensure our waterways and wetlands are healthy and resilient to change. As such, it’s critical that we continually work to protect and enhance our catchments health, native habitats and build our community’s stewardship over their future. This annual Report Card is a valuable tool for us to keep track of our progress, identify challenges and determine areas that may benefit from additional effort – like our projects in our Blue Heart – to ensure we continue to enjoy a healthy environment and liveable Sunshine Coast for generations to come.

I’m pleased to share our council’s commitment to healthy waterways in Ipswich. The Bremer river catchment is one of our most precious natural resources, with our residents and visitors enjoying the parks and the natural spaces that line the river. I’d like to commend Healthy Land and Water on their delivery of the 2020 Report Card. The information contained within the report on the Bremer catchment’s environmental condition, its benefits, and the changes over time, will be really crucial for council and our focus on continuous improvement. To improve the condition of the Bremer catchment, we need a long-term sustained strategy and investment in this important natural asset.

I want to talk about the importance of the Report Card itself – our freshwater estuarine and marine waterways. The Report Card and the EHMP which support it are all recognised as special around the world. We need to make sure we work together to support Healthy Land and Water and the Report Card process to help us understand how, where, and what we should do to enhance our waterways and protect our quality of life. Thank you.

On that note, we’d love you to head to the website and check out the results for your catchment. Thank you to everyone involved for making this happen.

To see the latest results (including the annual results since 2001), please visit our Report Card portal:
https://reportcard.hlw.org.au/

 

 

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