FNQROC Update - October 2014

By Executive Officer, Darlene Irvine...

I am now fully recovered from the Spartan event earlier this month - I came to work for one day and had to take the next three off as annual leave.  Still no photos yet of pain inflicted.  

This month is feeling lonelier and lonelier.  Amanda is on extended leave to visit her family in the UK, Daniela has sadly left us and Sandra and Steven are either about to be or are on annual leave during the school holidays.  The office is very quiet.

Regional Development Manual

The working group has reviewed the public submissions this month and I am currently in the final stages of getting the amended manual to councils for adoption. I am just waiting on the new drawings to come through.

Regional Mountain Bike Strategy

There has been a fair bit of work commenced in the areas of developing Mountain Biking in the State and the region. As a summary:

• The Queensland Outdoor Recreation Federation (QORF), which is funded by the Qld Government to encourage people to be more active through outdoor recreation, has convened a Queensland MTB Regional Solutions and Advocacy working group.  The region is represented by Leasie Felderhof from TIMBA.  As part of this, the working group needs to prepare a position paper for DNPRSR by November 2014. This position paper will present a selection of MTB trail development priorities which are viable, create opportunity and are assets for community and are economically and environmentally sustainable.

• TTNQ has been developing 'Ride Cairns' to promote and market our tracks and trails.

• DSDIP has funded a project directed at educating businesses on how to be bike friendly.

• Individual mountain bike groups have been doing an awesome job in their existing areas and see the potential tracks that traverse local government areas and differing land tenure types.

We have for a long time sought to build a Regional Mountain Bike Strategy to support the growth in this market and community needs.  However, tight financial times have prevented this from occurring.  With all of the above happening, for this region it creates a make or break; do we lead or follow with this work?

Having a preference to lead and inform any State level strategy I have committed to developing the Regional Mountain Bike Strategy with strong guidance from the existing taskforce.  The taskforce will be extended to include a representative from each of the local MTB groups (I would like to stress here that local groups will maintain their autonomy, this strategy will merely to support their efforts.)  We also have passed the first EOI process for an additional $10,000 from DSDIP.  The final application for this was due end of September.  Rather than wait and to get the ball rolling I have sought quotes to undertake this work.  Negotiation is currently occurring on this.

FNQROC Board Meeting

Our next FNQROC Board meeting will be held on Monday 13 October in Croydon.  This will be a very interesting bus trip starting on Sunday morning and ending late Monday night; if we don't know each other well enough after this trip then the sleeping tablets in the water would have worked.  Agenda items as always, are welcome to be lodged with myself or Sandra McCormack.

Energy Regulation

As a parting parting gesture, Daniela has provided an update on Energy Regulation which is below.

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Regional Infrastructure Projects Update - October 2014

By: Regional Infrastructure Projects Coordinator, Steven Cosatto...

Asset Management

I was fortunate to attend a conference at the Sandgate Town Hall (pictured below), hosted by Brisbane City Council (BCC) on "Innovation Within Asset Management".  

Presentations focused on increasing the long-term financial sustainability of assets through innovative methods (ie. cost saving construction methods), designing an asset to significantly reduce levels of maintenance, and how these innovations were identified.  

Topics for the conference included Legacy Way Tunnel, stormwater-creek filtration, pavement recycling, parks and playground audits using digital pens, and the BCC Works Department Innovation Framework.


What resonated with me was all speakers advised that in order to be innovative and create a long term financially sustainable asset, the project needed to engage all stakeholders who would be involved in the "Life of the Asset".  Speakers advised that while the financial life of the asset may begin post-construction, the true life of the asset begins at its conception (ie. at approval stage) -   pre-design, stakeholders should include design, procurement, construction, maintenance, communication, asset managers and continue with contractors/suppliers etc.

BCC Works advised it had established an "Asphalt Innovations Committee", the purpose of which was to "advance the investigation and implementation of asphalt surfacing technologies" with the objective of identifying cost effective pavement solutions (I can see the region's works managers shaking their heads!)  The committee consists of the asset owner (road network), quarry manager, asphalt plant manager, material recycling manager (asphalt), pavement design, and asset services (community interface).  They were pleased to advise that last financial year amongst other items they had utilised 20,000 tonnes of crushed glass in their asphalt operations.

Regional Waste

Local Authorities Waste Management Advisory Committee (LAWMAC) update

At its AGM on 29 August 2014 the following members were ratified as members of the Executive Committee:

Cr Alan Wilson (position of Chair) - Cook Shire Council representing CYROC

Cr Glenn Raleigh – Cassowary Coast Regional Council representing FNQROC

Cr Sherry Kaurila – Hinchinbrook Shire Council representing NQROC

Cr Laurence Bonaventura – Mackay Regional Council representing WIMROC

Ms Debra MacKeen – Cairns Regional Council was appointed to the position of Technical Advisory Officer

Regional Waste Management Group (RWMG)

The Agenda for the next RWMG meeting on 20 October 2014 at Mareeba Shire Council includes:

• Springmount Waste Management Station tour

• Mareeba Transfer Station tour

• Kowa Street depot – lunch and Regional Waste Management Group meeting


At last month's procurement meeting (29 August) we welcomed two new council officers to the procurement group - Rebecca Assman from Douglas Shire Council and Janice Booth from Cassowary Coast Regional Council.  Brendan Macrae from the Queensland Audit Office – provided a presentation on:

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Regional Natural Asset Management - October 2014

By: Regional Natural Asset Management Coordinator, Travis Sydes...

Australasian Weeds Conference

I was privileged to join 250 other delegates for the 19th Australasian Weeds Conference in Hobart in early September.  The theme was Science, Community and Food Security: the Weed Challenge. There were some valuable weed management insights and case studies from across the region including some promising outcomes in Cabomba management and great examples of community engagement and participation.  I presented a paper on Pest Adaptation Response Planning (PARS) as part of FNQROC's minor project in the Tropical Ecosystems Hub of the National Environmental Research Program (NERP).  The PARS project is a collaboration between CSIRO Atherton and FNQROC which builds future projections of weed distribution, spread and risk into our regional pest planning framework.  The results can be used by our pest management advisory groups in forward planning and review of Local Government Area Pest Management Plans which are a legislative obligation for Queensland councils.

One of the highlights of the conference would have to be the demonstration by 'Missy' the detector dog highlighting a program soon to be launched in the field as part of the Orange Hawkweed Eradication Program in the Australian Alps.  Missy is from the same pedigree as the dogs recently used as the final stage in a program to eradicate more than 150,000 rabbits and an unknown number of rats and mice from Macquarie Island in the Sub-Antarctic.  In the two year program (following on from aerial baiting) the team of 11 dogs clocked more than 92,000 km in order to ensure the program could declare the island pest free.  In a world where we hear more and more about the impacts and losses caused by pests and weeds the success was a remarkable feat and a program which will serve as an inspiration to others in the future.


Springer spaniel ‘Missy’ decked out in her work jacket and GPS awaiting instructions from trainer Steve Austin.  The focus of Steve’s training is to enable to dogs to work with multiple handlers in the field.  For this demonstration she detected a container of orange hawkweed hidden in the room.  A tennis ball is the only reward she expects in return for her services, if only people were so easy to please.

Changes in 1080 baiting

Some major changes in the application for and delivery of 1080 bait, an integral pesticide used in both feral pig and wild dog baiting, is planned to roll out across Queensland in the coming months. The changes primarily alter the authorisations of who can apply for 1080 permits and use the baits.  We are still in the process of understanding the nature of the changes and what it may mean for local governments, who along with state officers, are the only eligible parties for 1080 authorisation under the present system.  The most recent communique from Queensland Government is attached for your information.  We will keep you posted of the situation as it unfolds.

Water Quality Improvement Plan out for consultation

Last week Terrain NRM released the draft Wet Tropics Water Quality Improvement Plan for consultation.  As you may expect it is a somewhat meaty tome at around 200 pages.  For the first time the plan includes an assessment of and recommendations on the catchment condition and ecosystem health which cut to core elements of water quality improvement (revegetation and pest management) which local governments have been engaged in for many years.

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Regional Roads Group - October 2014

By: Regional Roads Group coordinator, Gerard Read...

September was a meeting-free month for the RRTG and Technical Committee, however Councils were kept busy with the closing of Round 4 of the Royalties for the Region program.  The next Technical Committee meeting will be held on Friday 3 October and things traditionally get hectic in the run in to Christmas each year.

The RRTG meeting, which was scheduled to be held in conjunction with the next FNQROC meeting in Croydon on Monday 13 October, has been cancelled due to a relatively light agenda and the return travel requirements of members.

The best news to come out of September was arguably the passing of the Roads to Recovery Bill by Federal Parliament securing the $2.1 billion program from 2014/15 to 2018/19.  The sum of $350 million per annum will be allocated to Councils across the country with a double helping of $350 million in 2015/16.

Bridges Renewal Program & Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program

Successful projects under these two Federal Government programs have not been announced as yet. From FNQRRTG Councils, 7 projects were submitted under the BRP and 5 projects were submitted under the HVSPP.  The grapevine has indicated over 250 bridges were submitted under the BRP Australia wide!

2015/16 to 2018/19 Works Program Development

Just a friendly reminder to Technical Committee members that development of the new 4 year works program for 2015/16 to 2018/19 is in full swing and all new projects and changes to existing projects must be submitted by Friday 17 October.

An announcement on the new TIDS allocations is expected to be made during the LGAQ Annual Conference in Mackay late this month.

National Heavy Vehicle Regulator

A working group, convened by TMR, has been established for the development of a Road Manager Route Assessment Fee determination.  Their first meeting / phone conference was held 19 September in Brisbane.  Under the National Heavy Vehicle Law, road managers, eg Councils, may charge for a justified route assessment.  The 28 day timebar for a decision from road managers on applications may be extended for up to six months should a route assessment be required.

Traffic management at roadworks

A review of traffic management practices, standards and requirements is currently in progress through the Traffic Management Industry Alliance Group involving TMR, QML, LGAQ, RoadTek, IPWEAQ, RACQ, TMAA, TMAQ, AAPA, CCF and ARRB.  There will be more information on this subject presented at the Roads & Transport Alliance Technical Forum or Assembly (see below).

Roads & Transport Alliance – Technical Forum

The Roads & Transport Alliance Technical Forum will be held on Tuesday 7 October in Caloundra as part of the annual IPWEAQ State Conference.  This Forum is targeted at the technical representatives from RRTGs across the state.

Next Meeting Dates

• FNQRRTG - Monday 8 December 2014, Civic Reception Room, Cairns Regional Council, Spence Street, Cairns commencing at 1.30pm following the FNQROC Board Meeting.

• FNQRRTG TC – Friday 3 October 2014, Mareeba Leagues Club, Riordan Street, Mareeba commencing at 12pm.

RRTG Assembly

The Roads & Transport Alliance Assembly will be held on Monday 27 October in Mackay during the annual LGAQ State Conference. This Assembly is generally attended by elected members.

Click below for updates on the Alliance Operational Review, Red Guide Post project, and Royalties to the Region Round 4...

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Events Around the Region

Cairns Regional Council has opened its latest grant round for Developmental and Major Event Grant streams.

Planning an exciting event that will also attract visitors to Cairns?

Council's Developmental and Major Event Grant streams offer funding to help diversify our region's sporting, cultural and lifestyle event calendar.

Eligible events will have strong community support, promote Cairns as a destination and attract visitors to our region.

Grant applications can be submitted from 10 November 2014 to 16 January 2015, for events to be held between July 2015 and December 2016.

To find out more, visit www.cairns.qld.gov.au/grants or phone Council's Regional Events Development Officer on 4044 3520. Email enquiries should be directed to email/economicdevelopment)(cairns.qld.gov.au

See summary guidelines:

Developmental Events

Major Events