- Category: Leadership in NRM
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Our people and partners
South East Queensland Catchments Members Association
The South East Queensland Catchments Members Association (SEQCMA) is an alliance between community, government, and industry, focused on finding solutions to issues affecting South East Queensland’s environment. SEQCMA works closely with Healthy Land and Water to identify and develop strategies that build resilience into the region’s landscapes and waterways. The association’s purpose is to bring many elements of the community together as one voice to protect our land, forests, bushland, waterways, wetlands, and coastal regions.
With more than 200 members, SEQCMA is uniquely placed to effect meaningful change. Members include catchment and land care groups, industry, utilities, agriculture, tourism, local government bodies, Traditional Owners, and community members.
The Healthy Land and Water Board has established the SEQCMA Community Consultative Committee to provide advice, guidance, and advocacy support to Healthy Land and Water regarding strategic natural resource management issues.
Council of Mayors (SEQ)
The Council of Mayors (SEQ) was established in 2005 as an independent political advocacy organisation to represent the interests of South East Queensland. The membership of the Council of Mayors (SEQ) consists of the 10 South East Queensland councils: Brisbane, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Logan, Moreton Bay, Redland, Scenic Rim, Somerset, Sunshine Coast, and Toowoomba. The organisation uses its united voice and leverage to advocate for a better resourced South East Queensland with world-standard infrastructure and healthy and sustainable environments.
Council of Mayors (SEQ) works closely with Healthy Land and Water on a number of projects including the Resilient Rivers initiative, which aims to improve the health of the region’s waterways by delivering a coordinated approach to catchment management.
As the custodians of South East Queensland’s water supply, Seqwater, Urban Utilities, and Unitywater work in tandem with Healthy Land and Water to improve and protect the region’s catchments and waterways.
Healthy Land and Water helps deliver on-ground catchment and weed management projects funded by the water utilities that are designed to improve water quality and safeguard the region’s water supply. In addition, Healthy Land and Water works closely with the water utilities to improve water quality through developing innovative environmental offset solutions such as riverbank stabilisation and increased habitat.
Seqwater, Urban Utilities, and Unitywater are crucial partners as we aim to make South East Queensland a healthier place to live.
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Our key outcomes
• Number of Projects delivered: 71
• Partnerships: over 45 collaborations
• Total value: $11.3 million
• Governance: 16 Committees, 36 meetings throughout the year.
• Technical, Studies and Project Reports: 114
• Data agreements (data and maps): 75 data agreements, 138 maps, 3 online map
• Decision Support Systems and data development: 20
• Site / property visits (field assessment): 26
• Sites monitored, monitoring activities: 268
• Demonstration sites: 2
• Genetic sampling: 33
• Natural areas maintained: 40 m2 (aquatic), 1 ha (shellfish), 2ha (sand dune)
• Waterways maintained: 6.86 km (erosion control)
• Gullies repaired: 4
• Instream works: 6
• Soil management (e.g. polymer application): 18.05 ha, 5 farms
• Sediments saved from entering waterway: 9,072 t
• Weed control: 17 ha natural areas, 40.2 km of riparian/creek vegetation
• Revegetation: 3,678 plants, 1.4 ha
• Fencing: 4.7 km + 6 km of sensitive areas protected
• Environmentally Friendly Moorings: Expressions of Interest for 116 to be installed
• Clean up (litter and rubbish removal): 152 days, 137.6 ha, 201,200 items collected, 39.92 t collected
• Communications and Media: 86 stories, 9,900 views, 1 video
• Website supported: 2
• Workshops, training and Knowledge sharing: 41 (mostly online, digital roadshows)
• Landholders and stakeholders engaged: 5,785
• Community / landholder surveys: 2 (3,211 participants)
• Meetings and briefings (nrm activities): 214.
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It has been a whirlwind year of big issues and big deliverables. From responding to the devastation around the dreadful bushfire season to adjusting to the new conditions brought about by COVID-19, Healthy Land and Water has adapted quickly to deliver a raft of important projects for South East Queensland.
The overwhelmingly positive response of our regions to the immediate front-line reporting of the fire situation throughout the crisis by Healthy Land and Water was particularly pleasing. The regular reports prepared by our team for our network of stakeholders were well received and the information sharing post the fires to support better preparation for future fire seasons has been strong.
While this report focuses on the impressive action on so many fronts across the past 12 months, it is also timely to think about what we’ve achieved in the last two decades.
In just a short time frame we’ve seen enormous change, including the recognition and formation of initiatives which support landcare, water quality improvement, Indigenous participation, sustainable urban landscapes and environmental protection.
"I’m proud to recognise the active role Healthy Land and Water continues to play in delivering critical components for so many of these initiatives which have supported a healthier environment."
- Julie McLellan, Healthy Land and Water, CEO
At the same time Healthy Land and Water has been looking at how we can do things differently and more innovatively. It is a little-known fact that our Report Card is the system on which other Australian and global monitoring and reporting systems have subsequently been modelled. The success of our Report Card is the result of a huge amount of collaboration. It has contributed greatly to justifying billions of dollars of investment over the last two decades by government, industry and community, all focused on improving the health and integrity of our region’s waterways. Through the evolution and next iteration of the report card we hope to deliver an increased understanding of environments and the required on-ground action, planning, support and investment.
Past investments in catchment health are continuing to reap dividends. Some parts of Moreton Bay are reporting better conditions than at any other time in the last 20 years while there has also been some noticeable regeneration of vulnerable habitats, including seagrass, mangroves and vegetation in areas.
The broader benefits go way beyond this, including everything from improved biodiversity, commercial productivity and greater recreational opportunities. Additionally, the South East Queensland tourism market is increasingly being recognised on a national and global scale and we’re also seeing increased levels of protection for First Nations cultural values.
It’s important to celebrate our successes and to plan for the future. One of the reasons we have been able to make such big inroads and stay ahead of the curve in changing times is our integrated approach, recognising that as the ecosystem is always adapting to pressures and change, so must we.
Our plans to have a big public celebration with all our stakeholders to celebrate twenty years of positive impact for the region has been delayed by the gathering restrictions brought about by COVID-19. The opportunity is not lost, and Healthy Land and Water is committed to holding a large 21st birthday celebration of the Report Card and Healthy Land and Water’s integrated suite of initiatives for the region in 2021.
The strong population growth forecasted for South East Queensland in the coming decades will bring significant additional pressures. We also know that while science has not been able to fully determine the extent of what impacts the changing climate will bring, we know that whatever changes come our way will require a more resilient region and catchments to be able to deal with it. Accordingly, we must plan and take concerted action to protect and enhance our region if we are going to retain our enviable reputation as a great place to live, work and visit.
We believe that now is the time to enter a new phase of environmental reporting and investment that is more integrated. Just as all things in South Queensland’s ecosystem are connected, we are expanding out our Report Card beyond water to a broader ecosystem focus, in line with the priorities in our South East Queensland Natural Resource Management Plan (NRM Plan).
Healthy Land and Water will collaborate strongly on developing the new framework and reporting mechanism because first and foremost it must benefit the catchment’s needs. It must strengthen our environments and support the needs of our communities which make up the region.
As we approach two decades of the Report Card, we are also undertaking a strategic review of the NRM Plan. It is important to ensure that the priorities which underpin our direction are reflective of the changing needs of the environment and the community. We aim to respond to change and use the best available knowledge – and people – to continue to drive and inform investment in our natural assets.
The team continues to identify new opportunities for protecting and enhancing our regions resilience. Just one example of this is the significant investment in maintaining and enhancing riverbank vegetation to bind, hold and stabilise stream banks. Similar effort is also required towards our freshwater wetlands which have declined in extent and provide a biodiversity function, assist with flood mitigation and nutrient processing.
Our work is important for South East Queensland as it becomes increasingly recognised as Australia’s eastern gateway to international markets. Globally visible and competitive, South East Queensland is expected to grow its export share of the economy which will provide opportunities for new activity and skills.
While this Annual Report is testament to the skills, dedication and diversity of the Healthy Land and Water team, from my perspective it is the sum of the whole which truly helps each individual shine. Living our values of care, collaboration, courage, integrity and innovation has never been more evident than during this tough year. I’ve been pleased to see how we have pulled together and flourished as a team. There would not have been one team member who didn’t reach out to check on their colleagues and people in their broader stakeholder networks during lock down and offer support.
Each member of our team has adapted and collaborated to ensure we continue to deliver on our raft of on-ground projects. As demonstrated by some of the activities we shine a ‘spotlight’ on in this year’s Annual Report, the team continued to innovate and tackle problems and barriers head-on, to deliver the best results for our partners and our community. This is done in line with our science principles, which underpin the scientific integrity of all our projects.
Congratulations and thanks to our team and partners for continuing to go above and beyond to improve our ecosystems’ resilience and the collective work of our members and partners to champion and deliver on our vision for a sustainable South East Queensland. We are ready to tackle the year ahead.
"I’m proud of the work Healthy Land and Water champions in empowering South East Queensland to be a smart region that embraces real-time data, new digital and other advanced technologies that will improve our quality of life and reduce our ecological footprint."
- Julie McLellan, Healthy Land and Water, CEO
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This year has been one of the biggest on record for studies and on ground works for Healthy Land and Water, despite the many challenges the year has brought. The breadth and impact of our portfolio continues to strengthen, and Healthy Land and Water has continued to be successful in securing funding for projects that will have a lasting impact for the region.
"One of the unexpected side effects bought about by COVID-19 has been a renewed focus by South East Queenslanders on their local environs. The devastation of the bushfires followed closely by the impact of COVID-19 appears to have refocused people on the importance of their ‘backyard’."
- Stephen Robertson, Healthy Land and Water, Chair
As the COVID restrictions started to lift, there have been reports of South East Queenslanders flocking to their natural attractions.
The increase in recognition of the importance of these areas bodes well for being able to build on this connection and inspire greater community involvement and action in protecting and enhancing their local natural assets.
It is not only COVID that has been reshaping how we work. Times are changing and what has worked for us in the past is now being reimagined to extend the appeal of our work to a broader audience - an audience who receives their information very differently. We are focused on coming up with new ways to integrate and communicate our work.
Our team has been working on all ends of the spectrum to ensure we can deliver for the environment and community.
Our relationships with key stakeholders have been a key focus during the year. We’ve put a concerted effort into ramping up discussions about our projects that are critical to the region with the people and organisations who can help make real change happen. We’ve also been regularly touching base with our Local, State and Federal Government representatives on upcoming opportunities to partner with us on collaborative projects which deliver on the ground change for South East Queensland.
We continue to have excellent working relationships with the environment and agricultural sectors and the business and industry sectors. It is important to leverage the work, the skills and the funding across these groups to accelerate change for our region.
On behalf of the Board, I am pleased to announce the creation of a new strategic funding initiative, the Community Natural Asset Investment Reserve. This will allow the delivery of key high-impact projects which may not have had adequate external funding sources of their own. The Board will be playing a key role in determining the projects and activities to be funded through this fund.
"What we’ve achieved throughout the year has been made possible by the hard work and dedication of our CEO and the team at Healthy Land and Water. When referring to our team, I’m referring not just to our highly skilled and committed staff, but also the active network of members we collaborate with to ensure our natural resource assets in South East Queensland are well managed."
- Stephen Robertson, Healthy Land and Water, Chair
Thank you also to the Board of Directors, whom I am delighted to have the privilege of working with. The commitment and passion of our Board can be clearly shown in the strong direction and leadership of natural resource management for the region.
I would like to close by recognising the financial support of our funding providers which makes our work possible, and I sincerely thank them for their ongoing commitment. As the strong population growth in the South East corner brings a raft of additional pressures, enduring investment will be ever more crucial in designing and managing healthy and liveable environments.
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Securing our region’s future: Community Natural Asset Investment Reserve established
Healthy Land and Water is proud to announce the creation of its new strategic funding initiative, the Community Natural Asset Investment Reserve, to allow the delivery of key high-impact projects which may not have adequate external funding sources of their own. Healthy Land and Water has allocated $1.5M to the reserve.
The fund strategically supports activities which align with the company’s principal activities, being primarily actions and projects that will preserve and enhance our natural assets and support resilient regions in South East Queensland.
This reserve doesn’t change the nature or purpose of the company’s retained earnings, which are still solely available to be used by the company in pursuit of its charitable purpose.
As a strategic fund, the Board of Healthy Land and Water determines the approach to be undertaken to ensure a robust and transparent process in identifying and assessing projects and activities to be funded.
2019/20 in numbers