SEQ's Environment Plan

Our community's plan for their region

Driving the focus of action for the region is a living environmental plan developed by communities across SEQ

Healthy Land & Water is charged with bringing communities across South East Queensland together to develop and update a living plan which is squarely aimed at protecting and enhancing our region’s beautiful and biodiverse environment.

Maintaining healthy landscapes and waterways is not just important for wildlife and ecosystems. A healthy environment also supports a vibrant economy, strong livelihoods, great lifestyles and the happiness and well-being of the community.

Protecting and enhancing our incredible wildlife and ecosystems
Protecting and enhancing our incredible wildlife and ecosystems
Ensuring we remain a destination of choice for our visitors
Ensuring we remain a destination of choice for our visitors
Providing targets to measure the health of our natural resources
Providing targets to measure the health of our natural resources
Supporting the lifestyles, happiness, and well-being of our community
Supporting the lifestyles, happiness, and well-being of our community
Underpinning jobs, livelihoods, and a vibrant economy
Underpinning jobs, livelihoods, and a vibrant economy
Ensuring the priorities for the region are moving with and adapting to the changing environments and supporting communities in the best way possible
Ensuring the priorities for the region are moving with and adapting to the changing environments and supporting communities in the best way possible

Our region's NRM Plan

SEQ NRM Plan: the communities environmental plan for their region

 

A strong plan for the environment and liveability of our region

The South East Queensland Natural Resource Management Plan (SEQ NRM Plan) is at the heart of what we do, driving the focus of action our across the region.

It is our community’s plan to protect and enhance our region’s natural assets. It drives our actions for the sustainability and liveability of our region. Because the threats, pressures and opportunities are constantly changing in our climate-change-exposed and fast-growing region, it is a living document. Healthy Land & Water is charged with coordinating the plan on behalf of all the communities across South East Queensland.

The SEQ NRM Plan integrates and balances the array of competing economic, cultural, and environmental factors to guide collaborative strategies and actions which produce benefits for the whole community.

It helps guide us through the intricacies of managing the process of change in a complex environment.

The first iteration of the plan for the region started some 20 years ago, and like our environment and ecosystems, it has been adapted to our dynamic, changing environment ever since.

In 2009 the first region-wide plan, formed collaboratively by communities across South East Queensland, was officially endorsed by government. It set out 41 indicators and a baseline for each target set for the region in 2009, to take us to 2030.

 

Why we lead the communities plan for their region

Healthy Land & Water is focused on ensuring the priorities are moving with and adapting to the changing environments and supporting communities in the best way possible.

We have the ideal and long-standing mechanisms in place to collect, analyse, report and keep the community informed about what is needed:

  • Inhouse data and analytics team, with 22+ years of expertise and SEQ environmental condition data plus the latest collection and analytics technology.  
  • Extensive networks to facilitate collaboration across diverse stakeholder groups, easily able to bring together industry groups, community groups, farmers, businesses, special interest groups and government. 
  • Expert independent science advisory committees, for high level guidance and to provide quality assurance and rigour. This group is also charged with determining if the trends detected in the last review are continuing or have since changed.
  • Expert social, economic and cultural advisory committees, rounding out a wide scope of other committees and stakeholders providing crucial input to ensure the NRM Plan captures the aspirations of the South East Queensland community, who are ultimately the owners of the plan.

 

A strong plan for South East Queensland

The best way to achieve outcomes for our region is by taking an integrated view – our environs, our people, our economy and our lifestyles.

The Natural Resource Management Plan for South East Queensland helps guide us through the intricacies of managing the process of change in a complex environment. 

australian government rural landcare program rlp

This project is supported by Healthy Land & Water through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

5-yearly review to maintain a living plan

 

5 yearly review

To ensure the plan is moving with the changing needs of the region, the SEQ NRM Plan undergoes a major review every 5 years.

Healthy Land & Water leads the review of the plan. The change is compared to the baseline for each target, created in 2009 to take us to 2030

The intensive review is a three-pronged process:

  • Deep dive into the science: The review starts with a comprehensive analysis of the data and science of progress against a set of baseline targets that were set for the region in 2009. Progress against targets is measured using the latest and most accurate data and analysis methods, with support from academic/research bodies, government, and community experts. 
  • Getting as much feedback as possible from broad cross-section of stakeholders: This is invaluable in future action planning. This step adds an enormous layer of intel to the raw data that is collected (who better to know the condition and threats to South East Queensland’s natural assets that the people who live here!).
    • Surveying SEQ residents to access local knowledge about regional conditions: Using clever online surveying tools, we cast out broadly for information from people across our region about their assessment of local conditions based on their local knowledge. We take great care to design a survey that reflects this significance, that is based on robust science and data, and that endeavours to engage and invite useful and substantial feedback on the future of our region’s assets.
    • Catchment-wide community workshops: These sessions bring together the community to collect feedback on both the current and changing impacts being experienced in each catchment.  
  • Reviewing the collated data sets: This includes the latest analysis methods, with support from academic/research bodies, government, and community experts. We use an expert science committee to determine if the trends detected in the last review are continuing or have since changed, and if there are any emerging threats which need to be managed for the region.

The most recent review took place across 2021, and our summary of the updated assessment of threats and opportunities for our region was officially endorsed by the Australian Government on 30 June 2022.

The review was aimed at ensuring SEQ's NRM Plan is best placed to lead us into the next 10 years. This marks the end-date for the current raft of targets set in 2009. Synergistially it provides guidance on the actions needed to ensure South East Queensland's environment is as healthy as possible by the time SEQ hosts the Olympic and Paralympic games in 2023. 

australian government rural landcare program rlp

This project is supported by Healthy Land & Water through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program

Targets and progress

 

We've created a whole section explore the latest targets, current state, threats, opportunities and the response needed for a healthy, green SEQ.

Click here to dive into how we are going, what we need to tackle and some of the incredible projects already underway to help.

More about the what and the why

 

What is a NRM Plan?

A Natural Resource Management (NRM Plan) for a region is the suite of plans and actions for the protection and improvement of the region’s natural assets. It documents a coordinated set of actions that seek to conserve, manage, or enhance an area’s natural assets through proactive, planned programs and actions for sustaining the health of the region.

The plan is a living document, which is reviewed regularly to ensure currency to changing circumstances. South East Queensland commenced formulating the first iteration of the plan some 20 years ago, and like our environment and ecosystems, it has been adapted to our dynamic, changing environment ever since.

The NRM Plan integrates and balances the array of competing economic, cultural, and environmental factors to guide collaborative strategies and actions which produce benefits for the whole community.

In South East Queensland (SEQ), the NRM Plan is tasked to the region’s official natural resource management body, Healthy Land and Water. Our goal is to develop a plan which ensures SEQ remains an icon for its natural wealth, its liveability, and its people.

 

Why we need it

To conserve and effectively manage the natural and cultural assets of SEQ, we need to better understand what and where they are, their current conditions and trends over time, as well as the investments in place to protect them.

In this way, we can leverage on successes, identify gaps and contribute to a collective vision for the future state of our region supported by sustainable use of its natural assets.

Key challenges facing these assets and our ability to sustainably manage them include climate change, population growth, and changes in how land is used.

Natural assets such as air and soil, waterways and wetlands, rainforests, woodlands, forests and grasslands, coastal environments, as well as culture and people strengthen SEQ’s identity, health and liveability.

 

Purpose of the NRM Plan

The current SEQ NRM Plan contains a set of targets designed to assist with application of a collaborative approach and articulate the needs of the community (i.e. cultural, recreation and health), and those of a sustainable environment.

Through funding support from the Australian Government, the SEQ NRM Plan is designed to guide existing planning efforts from all levels of government, community, and industry in relation to natural resource management.

The plan identifies priority programs and is a useful document to ensure appropriate monitoring, evaluation, and reporting takes place.

 

The four main purposes of the SEQ NRM Plan are:

  1. To complement and inform state of the environment reporting and the preparation and review of the SEQ Regional Plan.
  2. To inform the preparation of local government planning schemes and policies, state government policy, government and non-government corporate plans, property plans.
  3. To inform the preparation of planning and investment associated with yearly and long-term business cycles at regional, sub-regional and property levels to ensure funding and community actions contribute to the achievement of regional targets.
  4. To advise state agencies and local governments in the assessment of development applications and activities that may significantly constrain the achievement of regional natural resource targets.

The targets set out in the plan are designed to ensure we maintain our region’s natural assets and our quality of life. By valuing natural assets and coordinating action at the property, catchment, and local government scale, we can build and protect the overall prosperity and wellbeing of the region.

The SEQ NRM Plan is recognised through the South East Queensland Regional Plan, ShapingSEQ, and Healthy Land & Water provides plan implementation updates to the Queensland and Australian Governments on a regular basis.

 

Current condition & regular review

To conserve and effectively manage the natural and cultural assets of SEQ, we need to better understand what and where they are, their current conditions and trends over time, as well as the investments in place to protect them.

Healthy Land & Water provides the leadership in the review of the SEQ NRM Plan on behalf of the Australian and Queensland Governments and our members, with input from the community.

This includes evaluating performance against headline targets, brokering collaboration and engagement with key stakeholders, promoting improved understanding and articulation of Traditional Owner aspirations, identifying gaps and collate bespoke implementation plans. Our goal is to make SEQ an icon for its natural wealth, its liveability, and its people.

Every five years, Healthy Land & Water leads the review of the plan, identifying the latest and most accurate data and analysis methods. Progress against a set of targets is measured, with support from academic/research bodies, government, and community experts. Change is compared to a baseline for each target, created when the first plan was endorsed.

The first plan was created in 2009. It underwent a major review and update in 2016 and again in 2021 as part of its 5-yearly review process. The most recent updated plan was published and endorsed in 2022.

 

How we use it on the ground

The NRM Plan is at the heart of what we do at Healthy Land & Water, driving the focus of our action across the region.

Through the implementation of innovative and science-based projects and initiatives, training and workshops, collaboration and more, Healthy Land & Water and its members are working to improve and protect SEQ’s landscapes, farmland, waterways, coastal environments, and biodiversity.

History of the SEQ NRM Plan

2022

2022: Update endorsed by Australian Government

NRM Plan History 2003 nrm plan merge

The 5-yearly update to the South East Queensland Natural Resource Management Plan (SEQ NRM Plan) was approved by the Australian Government 30 June 2023.

We would like to thank the many hundreds of people who contributed their insights and ideas, to ensure we are acting on the most current information and responding to changing circumstances across our beautiful and growing region.

 

2022

2021

2021: 5 yearly review

NRM Plan History 2021 5 yearly review

On behalf of the communities across South East Queensland, Healthy Land & Water was charged with leading a year-long review of the NRM Plan which concluded at the end of 2022.

We conducted deep dive into the science, a comprehensive online survey of natural assets across every catchment in our region, and led six major regional workshops to collect regional knowledge of the status of natural assets in each area. This included a future-scoping process to ensure that our plan is positioned to meet the changing needs of the region.

This review was undertaken with support by the Australian Government. It was completed in 2021 and submitted to the Australian Government for endorsement in early February 2022.

2016

2016: 5 yearly review ends, update released

NRM Plan History 2016 5 yearly review and update
Healthy Land & Water completed its 5-yearly review of progress towards the achievement of targets in SEQ's NRM Plan in late 2016. The review was supported by the Australian Government*.
 
In a move to increase acceptance and improve uptake of the plan, the review also delivered a simplified framework. It streamlined the 41 indicator targets to 31 targets and identified 10 headline targets:
  • Waterways
  • Bushland
  • Beaches
  • Wetlands
  • Farmland
  • Outdoor recreational spaces
  • Seagrass, mangroves and reef
  • Scenic amenity
  • Air quality
  • Community

*The review was a requirement of the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program, with specific consideration for the impacts of climate change, and in accord with its five-year review cycle.

2016

2009

2009: The 22 year plan for the region we know today released

NRM Plan History 2009 new nrm plan released

In 2009, a new integrated plan for the region, the South East Queensland Natural Resource Management Plan 2009-2031 (SEQ NRM Plan, Queensland Government 2009) was launched.

The plan was the first whole-of-community plan for the SEQ region. Its development was coordinated by the South East Queensland Regional Coordination Group* with support from the Queensland Government**.

Whilst not statutory, the SEQ NRM Plan was a policy in the statutory South East Queensland Regional Plan 2009-2031 (Queensland Government 2009), which required land use change to have due regard to the achievement of 41 NRM targets identified in the plan.

The 41 targets set out the minimum desired extent and, in some cases the condition, of integral components of land and seascapes in the SEQ region by 2032.

The plan was purposefully “designed to guide existing and future plans, strategies and actions to coordinate the management and use of natural resources to enhance community, economic and environmental values” (Queensland Government, 2009).

*Queensland Government, SEQ Traditional Owner Alliance, SEQ Catchments Ltd (now Healthy Land & Water), Healthy Waterways (now Healthy Land & Water), Consortium for Integrated Resource Management, Queensland Conservation Council, SEQ Water, Growcom, and Council of Mayors (SEQ).

*Queensland Government Department of Environment and Resource Management.

2005

2005: Two plans become one

NRM Plan History 2005 nrm plan merge

In 2005 work started on a new combined NRM Plan for the region commenced after the two smaller NRM groups NRMSEQ and SEQWCG merged to form SEQ Catchments Ltd (which merged in 2016 with Healthy Waterways to become Healthy Land & Water).

2005

2003

2003: The NRM Plan journey begins

NRM Plan History 2003 journey starts
The NRM Plan journey began in 2003 when the Australian Government* formed two NRM groups in South East Queensland and tasked each to develop an NRM Plan relating to their area of activities.
 
The two NRM groups in question have long since merged and remerged to become Healthy Land & Water, but back then each formed plans which became the backbone of the NRM Plan we know today.
 
  • National Resource Management South East Queensland (NRMSEQ) developed the SEQ Integrated Natural Resource Management Plan – the Future in the Balance.
  • SEQ Western Catchments Group (SEQWCG) developed Healthy Land, Our Future – An Integrated Regional Natural Resource Management Plan for the Western Catchments of SEQ.
 
*Through the then Australian Government’s Natural Heritage Trust and National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality programs.

Our work in protecting and improving the environment spans the many connected things making up a healthy region's ecosystem.

NRM BUTTON LAND ICON

Healthy Land

The condition, area and extent of arable and grazing lands are important for the supply of food, fibre and other materials to support the society and economy of the region.

NRM BUTTON LAND ICON

Local landscapes

The quality of life enjoyed by people in the region is supported by access to, and connection with, the unique landscapes of the region. These regional landscapes help to define the region’s character and people’s sense of belonging.

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Sustainable urban design

Creating relationships between the natural environment, urban form and structure, economic and institutional processes, and social livelihood. Includes a sought erosion and sediment control program.

NRM BUTTON LAND ICON

Healthy Water

Water resources and riparian areas provide ecosystem services and clean water for human consumption, environmental flows, and recreation, agricultural and industrial use.

NRM BUTTON COASTAL ICON

Coastal & marine

People of the region are privileged to live near one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. The natural resources of coastal areas and marine waters are vital to our way of life and are the basis for a valuable international and domestic tourism industry along with commercial and recreational fishing.

NRM BUTTON LAND ICON

Air & atmosphere

Atmosphere, air and climate are natural resources that play a key role in the health of the natural system. Factors such as continued population growth, the number of households and an increasing reliance on motor vehicles pose a threat to future air quality. Maintaining and enhancing the region’s air quality is a key element when considering future land-use options and transport modifications.

NRM BUTTON LAND ICON

Nature conservation

The region has one of the richest diversities of animal and plant species in Australia distributed across a wide range of vegetation types and environments. The provision of all ecosystem services relies on supporting these habitats.

NRM BUTTON LAND ICON

Community

Private landholders manage the majority of the region. A priority is to enhance and maintain the capacity and ability of the community to engage in planning, implementation and monitoring of local actions to achieve regional targets.

NRM BUTTON LAND ICON

First Nations

Recognition of traditional owners as natural resource managers is one of the guiding principles of the SEQ NRM Plan. Traditional owner knowledge and values maintained the region for millennia. A key activity will be to achieve active involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in community planning and decision making.

We are protecting one of Australia's most desirable & fastest growing regions.

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Healthy Land & Water 
Level 11, 240 Queen St,
MEANJIN (BRISBANE) 
QLD  4000  
Australia

Healthy Land and Water Ltd
ABN 91 115 662 989

 

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