Using this plan
How can we, the community, use this Plan?
This is a community-driven Plan and as such, it needs to be accessible to the entire community. QMDC, in collating and updating this Plan, has encouraged the inclusion of a range of possible actions, from those requiring departmental and organisational sharing, to those that can be implemented by individuals and small community groups. These possible activities, included in each Asset area in Section 3, are by no means the only activities that will meet the overarching objectives of the Plan generally and those specific to the assets. In collating this Plan, QMDC has established www.ourfutureplan.org to allow everyone to have their say as the Plan public consultation occurs, and to provide ideas and suggestions for activities and to update all residents of the Maranoa-Balonne and Border Rivers with what they’re doing.
Who has a stake in making this Plan a reality?
Due to the long term, integrated nature of the Regional NRM Plan, change will be brought about by the collaborative actions of many, but will start with the actions of one. The community’s cooperation and ongoing commitment are required, in conjunction with integrated government programmes, to ensure the health of the natural resources in the Plan area is maintained. The community (including the not-for-profit, private and government sectors) are relying on integrated planning processes and activities to implement the NRM Plan to improve the way resources are used and maintained. Everyone who lives, works and plays in the Maranoa-Balonne and Border Rivers has a stake in the future of the region.
- Australian and Queensland governments
- Local governments
- Land managers
- Graziers –cattle
- Graziers – sheep/goats/other
- Farmers – cropping
- Mixed farmers
- Timber and forestry
- Private conservation organisations/individuals
- Research and development organisations
- Aboriginal communities
- Traditional Owners
- Agricultural industry bodies and representatives
- Primary and secondary schools (teachers and students)
- Tertiary education providers
- Women of the region
- Corporate business sector (including all businesses with a ‘stake’ in the region
- Urban residents of the region
- Recreational users of the region’s natural resources
- Health sector
- Mining and energy sector
- Natural resource management organisations and their staff
- Landcare groups and Catchment Management Associations
- Murray Darling-Basin Authority
- Volunteer organisations
Implementing the Plan
This is a community plan which aims to provide useful information to all sectors of the community, regardless of their age, gender, level of education or previous experience in natural resource management.
QMDC, as the lead proponent of the revision of the Plan, has ensured that it will be readily available to the public in print and digital media forms. To this end, the domain www.ourfutureplan.org has been established as the online site for delivery of the Plan. This site is live and available for ongoing comment and enables easy community feedback, as well as updating by a range of stakeholders. It also enables the Plan to feature much more in depth information for those seeking more technical, detailed information on NRM in the region. More detailed climate change adaption data and tools, developed specifically for the region as part of the review of the Regional NRM Plan, are available at www.terranova.org.au. Relevant links to this site are incorporated throughout the official NRM Plan website.
A coordinated approach to documenting the delivery of these actions and targets for the wider public to access will be undertaken by QMDC on behalf of the community. The collective progress of the region can then be measured, documented and built upon.
One of the key delivery mechanisms for implementing strategic action to address priority NRM issues is through integrated planning and action at the sub-catchment level. The sub-catchment action planning process can deliver coordinated and strategic activity at all levels of implementation. The sub-catchment/multi property action planning process uses an integrated approach to water, vegetation, fauna, soil, weed and pest management and cultural heritage issues and considers the environmental, economic and social implications of the proposed or current activity, as well as regional and off-site impacts.
Sub-catchment action planning is now a long standing procedure for community/agency-based NRM planning in rural communities throughout the NRM Plan area. The sub-catchment/multi-property planning groups give consideration to each of the strategic plan asset categories and describe the local impacts. The process focuses on the causes of these issues and directly links actions to address those causes. Cost-sharing arrangements, partnership agreements, monitoring and performance criteria are also detailed during the development of action plans. Technical expertise is brought into the sub-catchment action planning process to ensure the validity of any on-ground works. This is generally sought from state government agencies, professional practitioners from industry or non-government organisations and local government practitioners.
This approach allows for the formation of partnerships between landholders, local government, governmental agencies and research and development organisations to ensure successful on-ground action. The planning process is recognised for delivering substantial economic, social and environmental benefits through coordinated and cooperative action, increased and expanded sources of NRM investment and the synergy of an integrated planning approach.
Planning groups tend to spread their focus beyond natural resource management issues with many benefits derived from coming together as landholder based groups. Groups have formed cooperative marketing arrangements, made bulk purchases and have attracted research work in their areas. Importantly, the sub-catchment (landscape scale) planning process builds the social fabric of the community, bringing neighbours together to develop joint solutions and plans for their local area.
Major advantages of the sub-catchment/landscape scale approach are:
- ensuring the efficient use of limited resources,
- being of a scale that justifies significant planning and implementation resources, and thereby providing greater potential to produce beneficial outcomes,
- using a sound technical understanding of the localities resources, conditions and processes that contribute to their management by either the private or public sector,
- taking an integrated approach to management by considering interactions between resource sectors,
- focusing on the catchment or sub-catchment scale at a level where processes can be managed and issues prioritised,
- being able to take a comprehensive approach to balancing on-ground works with education and training, information transfer, regulation, planning, incentives, sanctions, research, structural adjustment,
- providing for better and more focused research, technology transfer and education and awareness programmes,
- providing clear targets and milestones so that progress in reaching agreed outputs can be monitored.
The NRM Plan can inform and influence statutory processes as a reference for actions that local governments could include in their own plans, in particular by providing a long term perspective of systematic improvement in natural asset management. The regional objectives and actions in the NRM Plan have included input from Local Government staff in various asset sections.
The six local governments within the Plan area are:
- Balonne Shire Council,
- Goondiwindi Regional Council,
- Maranoa Regional Council,
- Southern Downs Regional Council,
- Western Downs Regional Council,
- Toowoomba Regional Council.
Each of these Councils has their own planning processes addressing a wide range of NRM issues including water supply, waste management, sewerage treatment, weed and pest management, roadside vegetation, public land / reserve management and other local environmental management and community development matters, central to their roles. This planning is undertaken at a more specific landscape scale and their actions will contribute to the overall outcomes of NRM Plan. Recent planning actions by several of the councils have led to the inclusion of addressing climate change at a local level – a process which will be greatly informed by the tools and data included in the revised NRM Plan.
The NRM Plan is consistent with current legislation. However, a major review by the Environmental Defender’s Office (Queensland) has provided an overview of all legislation at a State level impacting upon Natural Resource Management. This information is available to be read alongside the Plan to aid NRM managers and planners to integrate key legislation into their work. The report is available online at www.ourfutureplan.org.