CEO Bernard Holland announces organisation’s new strategic direction:
South West NRM has provided services to the landholders of South West Queensland to support the development of sustainable landscapes for rural communities while building the biodiversity values, which underpin the ecosystems of healthy country.
Much of our work has been pest and weed management through the empowerment of landholders with auspiced funds for equipment, chemicals and traps. We have however, also been delivering mapping services and electro-fishing as specialist support services and recently completed the Early Warning Flood System. Our services and projects have been inclusive of our local indigenous communities to conduct ‘on country’ projects as well.
As we enter the next five year funding cycle from the commonwealth government, I would like to provide an overview to the community of the South West NRM strategic direction for 2014–2017.
Landcare underpinning all field work
As we establish replacement staff for Amy Gunn and Daniel Wingett after Easter, the Board has approved a regionally focussed but centrally administered landcare service from Charleville. It is vitally important that we retain and build strong connection to and communication with landholders and landcare groups. Every person should have a point of contact with someone at South West NRM and be able to talk face-to-face on a regular basis.
Therefore our Landcare Project Officers will be a regular presence and network with landholders and facilitate conversations around shared issues to find shared solutions. It may be a local strategy for wild dog management or an outbreak of a Class One weed. Alternatively it may be the preparation of a Grant Application to deal with a local environmental issue. To help facilitate this, we will maintain Bollon and Quilpie offices as staging points for the longer trips and a place to meet your South West NRM Landcare Officer.
Engagement with the Education Sector
Coupled with the Landcare model as previously described, is engagement with schools across the south west to run the Eco-Schools programme. I was International Director of Eco-Schools for two years based in Denmark and have worked with Keep Australia Beautiful to host the Eco-Schools in Australia.
If schools take on this framework for student led change, South West NRM will auspice Landcare funds into the school’s parent bodies so students can take on small environmental projects such as energy conservation, tree planting, biodiversity and waste and water projects. Connection internationally will also be possible through this programme.
South West NRM Iconic Project
The Board of South West NRM created and co-funded Collaborative Area Management (CAM) projects with the Mungallala and Morven Clusters for a major barrier fencing project. The feedback from landholders details significant reduction on total grazing pressure and in one case a 100% lambing rate.
South West NRM is now auspicing $3.86m of Queensland government funds to facilitate six more CAM projects over the coming 2.5 years.
Geo Spatial Hub
The Rangeland NRM Alliance has been granted a $1.6m grant over the next two years. The project will firstly combine geo-spatial information into one platform and validate data with on-ground inspections. In future stages and with more funding, landholders will be able to obtain detailed grazing pressure information on their own properties from images and data to inform management decisions.
South West NRM will continue its good work of the past and the future will be focussed on a broader communication and networking strategy to achieve greater local decision-making, which supports improved outcomes. When combined with our CAM and geo-spatial projects we have a bright future, as science will help inform daily decisions on the land.
I look forward to engaging with each community over time and supporting my team to provide great service levels. All the best.