What is the current condition of the region’s community capital? What are our current tools for measuring conditions and trends?
In the Border Rivers and Maranoa-Balonne:
- in terms of wellbeing, residents had an average score of 5.3 (on a scale of 1-7) but when taken by regional council area, “residents of the Western Downs and Maranoa reported lower than average community wellbeing, while those living in Goondiwindi reported higher than average community wellbeing”,
- when judging the wellbeing of the local economy, respondents rated the regions at 3.8, matching the national figure and slightly higher than that for rural and regional Queensland,
- in terms of community leadership and collaboration, the average score was 4.7 and the confidence,
- 2% of farming respondents had accessed grants/funding to undertake natural resource management activities on their properties (this was slightly higher than the average of 27.8% for rural and regional Queensland but below the national 32.8%),
- 9% of farmers in the regions said they were “very affected by drought in the past five years, 41.9% by other natural disasters (flood, bushfire, storm damage),
- 7% of farmer respondents reported trouble accessing labour, higher than the national average of 14.7%,
- 7% of farmer respondents said they were “very likely” to leave the farm in the next five to 10 years.
Data sourced from the 2013 Regional Wellbeing Survey, Queensland NRM regions data table, version 1.01 (Schirmer and Berry 2013).
Community Capital – social cohesion (Schirmer and Berry 2013)
Sustainable natural resource management and in particular education, extension, communication and capacity building have been identified by Catchment Management Associations and the Regional Bodies as priority regional issues for several years. National, state and regional initiatives have influenced these planning activities, resulting in several planning and strategy documents prepared through processes with a high level of involvement of regional/catchment stakeholders.
It is acknowledged that some projects in the past have had shortcomings such as they:
- were undertaken using a range of methods and scales thus making it difficult to establish common baselines and correlated targets for strategic areas;
- focused on specific technical issues rather than adopting a more integrated, community-supportive approach to overall ecosystem health;
- had been undertaken in a somewhat ad hoc manner rather than in a strategically planned and integrated approach;
- had patchy or poor information delivery strategies at the end of projects; and
- had been pitched at limited education levels and narrow cultural understanding.