Why is community capital important to us?
Community capital and community capacity are vital for the future of the region. Increasing the knowledge base of a community increases the opportunities for improving quality of life, proactive solution finding and sustained change.
In the Plan area, social assets include:
- community capacity,
- educational capacity, including schools, colleges, universities and extension staff,
- knowledge and skills within the community,
- community awareness and attitudes,
- Landcare Centres and their staff and resources,
- a network of Landcare groups,
- natural resource management groups,
- community and landholder groups with an interest in natural resource management,
- CRIS (Community Resources Information System) (QMDC 2014a), and
- communications strategies and activities in place.
The proportion of educated, financially secure people within the NRM Plan area impacts on the capacity of the community to understand and implement new systems and technologies and highlights the need for opportunities to increase the levels of NRM education and social capital. However, the established networks of Landcare resources, community groups, NRM consultants and NRM organisation staff in the NRM Plan area provide valuable opportunities, structures and systems to share NRM knowledge and subsequently achieve improved condition of our natural, social and cultural resources.
Community Capital – the two catchments (ABS 2010a).
Economic assets include diversified primary, secondary and tertiary industries and employment opportunities. The decline or rise in rural communities is often directly related to the fortunes of particular enterprises or the associated technologies, international trading climate and changes in management practices for the enterprise.
It should be noted here that increased climate variability has already had a financial impact on the region. In a report by Suncorp Group (2013), the insurer noted a rapid increase in the risks associated with natural hazards with disasters driving insurance premiums higher, with increases well above CPI in the seven years to 2012. In referencing the 2011 Summer of Disasters, Suncorp noted that in Queensland alone it processed 40,000 disaster claims valued at $1 billion. The paper notes that while natural hazards are a fact of life in Australia, the country’s natural disaster risk profile has increased significantly in recent years.
The style and cultural nuances of regional and rural towns have evolved from the traits and isolation of farming and grazing families, and the everyday pursuits involved with rural life. Settlement history has been acknowledged as an important cultural and tourism asset, with important investment, particularly in western areas, geared toward attracting local, interstate and international tourists. There is a network of homestay, historical buildings, homestead accommodation and tourism enterprises and the development of destination regions such as the Granite Belt, which have a significant rural cultural value.
The issues and concerns of the region’s Traditional Owners can be found in the Assets section and QMDC’s Regional Caring for Country Plan. (2008)