is the Community Plan All About?
This Plan is about
achieving sustainable use and management of natural resources in Townsville-Thuringowa.
Natural resources include all types of physical resources (water, air,
climate, soils and minerals) and biological resources (flora, fauna,
agricultural produce, ecosystems and people). These resources are essential
to our survival, well-being and quality of life. But their capacity
to support human activity has limits.
Unfortunately natural resources all around the world are under pressure
from the unstainable activities and demands of humans. It is imperative
that we begin to use and manage natural resources in a sustainable way
so that they will continue to support us and the generations to follow
Everyone who lives
or works in Townsville-Thuringowa and every company, government or other
organisation that operates here, is a user and a manager of the natural
resources of the area. So, it is up to the whole community, every individual
and every organisation, to ensure that our resources are not wasted,
depleted or over-exploited.
of the community in land, water and vegetation management, and environmental
conservation is an effective way to change on-ground practices and guarantee
that our natural resources are used in more sustainable ways. However,
natural resource management is just as complex as it is important, so
we need strategic direction - a Plan - to do the best job we can.
Community Plan is a means for us to:
- Spell-out our
intentions and objectives for the environment and communicate them
in a constructive and positive way to politicians and government officers;
- Establish a framework
for community action and involvement that addresses real priorities
efficiently and effectively;
- Consolidate and
optimise the resources available for community and government projects;
- Improve our communication
and collaboration with government and industry in matters relating
to land, water and biological resources; and
- Improve the co-ordination
and co-operation of community, government and industry ventures.
did this Community Plan Evolve?
In 1997 the Commonwealth
Government released the Natural Heritage Trust (NHT) for funding environmental
projects by local communities all around Australia. In Queensland the
Department of Natural Resources instigated a scheme to deliver NHT funding
equitably to communities across the State to achieve the best on-ground
outcomes. They divided the State into 13 regions and established Regional
Strategy Groups to develop Regional Strategies in each region. Once
endorsed by the Landcare and Catchment Management Council (LCMC), the
Regional Strategies would be a framework for communities to access funds
for natural resource management activities through the NHT.
lies in the Burdekin Dry Tropics Region. This area covers approximately
95,000 square kilometres and includes Bowen, Ayr and Charters Towers.
The Burdekin Dry Tropics Regional Strategy Group formed in 1998 to develop
the Strategic Plan for the whole region. They soon recognised that the
region is too large and diverse for one strategy, so they divided it
into three distinct Sub-regions: Burdekin Rangelands, Burdekin-Bowen
Floodplains and Townsville-Thuringowa Coastal Plains. It is at this
sub-regional level that on-ground natural resource management activities
take place, so Sub-regional Strategies were developed under the Regional
Strategy. This Plan is the Sub-regional Strategy for the Townsville-Thuringowa
Coastal Plains. The Sub-region coincides closely with the Townsville
and Thuringowa local government areas, extending from the back of the
coastal ranges to the Great Barrier Reef, south to the Haughton River
and north to Crystal Creek.
Landcare Association (TThLA) began preparing this Community Plan in
1998. A broad cross-section of the Townsville-Thuringowa community (including
individuals and representatives of indigenous groups, community groups,
government agencies and the commercial sector) was invited to participate
in the project. Five Working Groups were established to identify, debate
and work-shop the issues confronting natural resource management in
Townsville-Thuringowa during much of 1999 and 2000 (see Appendix D for
the participants of the Working Groups). The Working Groups were each
responsible for one of the five subject areas contained in Sections
2 to 6 of this document. The diversity of the participants in the Working
Groups is reflected in the wide variety of issues and points of view
included in the Plan.
The findings of
the Working Groups were then compiled into draft versions of the Community
Plan. The community had further opportunities to contribute to the definition
of the issues, goals and desired outcomes by commenting on drafts that
were circulated in June 1999 and June 2000.
does this Community Plan Contain?
This Plan aims to
articulate the concerns and priorities of our community in Townsville-Thuringowa
for protecting and managing local natural resources. The findings of
the consultation process are presented in six Sections, which correspond
to the key focus areas of the Working Groups, as follows:
||A "WHOLE-OF-CATCHMENT" APPROACH (1 strategy
To secure commitment and participation in integrated catchment
manaement of natural resoueces from all relevant interest groups
||LAND, VEGETATION AND WILDLIFE (10 strategies)
To implement best-practice management for protecting native vegetation,
controlling environmental weeds and maintaining habitat for native
wildlife populations. To rehabilitate degraded areas, especially
riparian areas and areas with high potential for soil erosion;
To strengthen the role of local Landcare groups and other avtivities
for promoting and supporting sustainable rural industries.
||WATER, WETLANDS AND WATERWAYS (4 strategies)
To ensure protection of water quality and quantity for use by
residents, the commercial sector and ecosystems, through integrated
consultation, planning, management and monitoring
||COASTAL AND MARINE ENVIRONMENTS (7 strategies)To encourage relevant
agencies to develop a coastal zone management plan, and support
community participation in the planning by providing appropriate
participation opportunities and information and awareness activities;
and To progress the collaborative development of a long term plan
for indigenous involvement in local natural resources management,
in a spirit of reconciliation and of respect for traditional customs
and legitimate Aboriginal aspirations.
||ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY (3 strategies)
To encourage the local community and commercial sector to develop,
implement and maintain best-practice standards in pollution control;
and To encourage support for clean production technologies to
ensure ecological sustainability of industrial and urban activities.
||COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT AND EDUCATION (6 strategies)
To raise the environmental understanding of our community and
encourageinformed debate and wider involvement in ecologically
sustainable activities inTownsville-Thuringowa.
Each of the six
Sections begins with a broad overview of the relevant issues. This is
followed by a series of Strategies for improving the management of specific
types of natural resources. There are 31 Strategies in all, and each
one is laid out on a single page with the following types of information:
are the issues?: A background discussion examines some of the
short-comings in the way we currently manage and use the particular
resource(s) under consideration.
is this important?: A dot-point list of statements describes
why the resources deserve protection.
can we do about it?: The goals for the Strategy are set.
can this strategy achieve?: The desired outcomes (achievements)
for the Strategy are listed.
- Each desired
outcome has been given a priority for its achievement. The process
used for determining the priorities is explained in Appendix C. The
number of stars preceding each desired outcome in the Strategies denotes
- ::: Very
- :: High priority
- : Medium
During the development
of the Plan, the community also identified desired courses of action
to improve our performance and achieve ecological sustainability. Action
Plans corresponding to each Strategy have been prepared, following on
from the desired outcomes listed in each Strategy. However, the Action
Plans are more technical than this document, and they will require regular
updating and modification as situations change. For these reasons, they
are presented in a technical supplement to this Plan: Community Action
Plans for Natural Resource Management in Townsville-Thuringowa. An example
(Action Plan 1.1, corresponding to Strategy 1.1) is given in Appendix
H. If you would like to know more about the Action Plans, please contact
the Landcare Centre.
of Key Priorities
- To secure commitment
and participation in integrated catchment management of natural resources
from all relevant interest-groups in Townsville-Thuringowa. Section
- To implement
best-practice management for protecting native vegetation, controlling
environmental weeds and maintaining habitat for native wildlife populations.
- To rehabilitate
degraded areas, especially riparian areas and areas with high potential
for soil erosion. Section 2
- To strengthen
the role of local Landcare groups and other programs for promoting
and supporting sustainable rural industries. Section 2
- To ensure protection
of water quality and quantity for use by residents, the commercial
sector and ecosystems, through integrated consultation, planning,
management and monitoring. Section 3
- To encourage
relevant agencies to develop a coastal zone management plan, and support
community participation in the planning by providing appropriate participation
opportunities and information and awareness activities. Section 4
- To progress the
collaborative development of a long term plan for indigenous involvement
in local natural resources management, in a spirit of reconciliation
and of respect for traditional customs and legitimate Aboriginal aspirations.
- To encourage
the local community and commercial sector to develop, implement and
maintain best-practice standards in pollution control. Section 5
- To encourage
support for clean production technologies to ensure ecological sustainability
of industrial and urban activities. Section 5
- To raise the
environmental understanding of our community and encourage informed
debate and wider involvement in ecologically sustainable activities
in Townsville-Thuringowa. Section 6
Vision for Sustainability
This Community Plan
is based upon the recognition of two complimentary aspects of caring
for our local natural resources:
ecologically sustainable use of our land, water and biological resources.
Societies need to use nature's resources, but there are ecological
limits of the extent of which these resources can be exploited. We
need to understand the consequences of our activities and manage them
to ensure that long-term impacts will not compromise nature's capability
for self-renewal and the ability of current and future generations
to enjoy it.
Protecting nature irrespective of its functional values
for human populations. Nature, in its various manifestations,
has intrinsic values that we have a responsibility to respect and
protect, even though they may seem of little use to us. The perpetuation
of life on our planet depends upon these values.
Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development
This Community Plan
acknowledges the goal, objectives and principles of the National Strategy
for Ecologically Sustainable Development (Australian Government 1992).
- Development that
improves the total quality of life, both now and in the future, in
a way that maintains the ecological processes on which life depends.
core objectives are:
- To enhance individual
and community well-being and welfare by following a path of economic
development that safeguards the welfare of future generations;
- To provide for
equity within and between generations;
- To protect biological
diversity and maintain essential ecological processes and life-support
guiding principles are:
- Decision making
processes should effectively integrate both long and short-term economic,
environmental, social and equity considerations;
- Where there are
threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage, lack of full
scientific certainty should not be used as reason for postponing measures
to prevent environmental degradation;
- The global dimension
of environmental impacts of actions and policies should be recognised
- The need to develop
a strong, growing and diversified economy which can enhance the capacity
for environmental protection should be recognised;
- The need to maintain
and enhance international competitiveness in an environmentally sound
manner should be recognised;
- Cost effective
and flexible policy instruments should be adopted, such as improved
valuation pricing and incentive measures;
- Decisions and
actions should provide for broad community involvement on issues which
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