This month in natural assets and sustainability
Ants, electricity matters, biodiversity, animal management, climate adaptation GBR and biosecurity have been on the table for the past two months.
Reef and biodiversity – FNQROC have just accepted a seat at the table of the GBR Wetlands Network. The network is comprised of key stakeholders managing the GBR and its’ catchments and meet quarterly to share information and align effort. The network will give us the opportunity to continue working with LGAQ and other partners to ensure councils are informed and engaged in the reef management space. The LG MIP (major integrated project) is in its final draft and will soon be circulated to all GBR councils contact if you want to know more or receive updates.
Wet Tropics Healthy Waterways Partnership met in July. The partnerships welcomed Prof. Stephen Turton to the chair and new project manager Greg Vinall on board. An additional 5 members have joined the partnership which now numbers 53 members and 24 associated members. The Technical Working Group is meeting shortly to go over the pending results for the next scorecard.
Electricity – We recently joined other stakeholders in a deep dive session as part of Energy Queensland’s consultation process relating to the pending Regulatory Proposal and Tariff Structure Statement (RP-TSS). The tariffs are underpinned by demand forecasting, risk management, and opex/capex forecasts. Cairns has been selected as part of the State’s Energy Savvy Families initiative, the opportunity will be extended to 1,600 participants – not entirely sure how this will be rolled out so watch this space. The results of the future energy survey and a state-wide public survey are available here.
Yellow crazy ant taskforce 2018 - we have been working closely with the YCA Eradication Program to put the finishing touches on the planning of this year’s operation conducted 20-24th August. On the back of quite out-of-sight results in the infested areas the 2018 Taskforce is conducting delimitation surveys in creeks and estuaries downstream from all known infestations to Trinity inlet. Check out the FNQROCRegional Tramp Ant Response Plan for detail on the activities and projects are undertaking to help protect us from this highly problematic bio-security risk.
State Oversight Group/Co-investment model (Land Protection Fund) - the recent meeting of the SOG determined the first round of projects which will get underway in the new financial year. We are yet to meet to finalise funds but expect to convene soon. In the meantime regional sub-committees will begin reviewing priority projects for the next rounds of EOI’s.
$4.4 Million investment to protect the Wet Tropics’ natural assets- Most would have seen the recent announcement from Terrain NRM regarding incoming State Government funding for the region. Terrain NRM has secured funding from the Queensland Government for three initiatives – one to improve the health of waterways in the Mossman area, another to reduce sediment losses in the Upper Johnstone River and a third to protect and improve native vegetation by controlling weeds. The NAMAC has been working closely with Terrain in the design of the weeds component of the funding allocation which builds on the previous investments on emerging weed issues in the region. We are expecting to schedule workshops in September to hone the investment program further. More information
Animal management and wildlife stewardship policy - The outcomes of the face-to-face consultations and staff surveys with councils have been compiled. In all around 35 council staff and elected reps participated in the workshops which were held with Douglas, Cairns, Mareeba, Cassowary Coast, Tablelands and Hinchinbrook. The survey results have helped to further refine the initial investments and projects required in this broad area of business and have been tabled to the FNQROC Board for their consideration at the August meeting. All in all the baseline we have established through this approach identified council staff by and large believe they have the skills and knowledge to progress AMWS matters but we could work on better integration within councils; and strengthen the communities understanding of what they can do to improve outcomes for domestic animals and wildlife.
On related matters (and perfectly timed) many local laws staff from across the region joined in an animal management forum hosted by LGMA. The Animal Management Village explored the current issues and approaches as well as the aspirations and future challenges for councils in the business of local laws, bio-security and community engagement. It was a great day and was perfect opportunity to glean insights into the dark arts of local laws, community engagement and behavior change.