Stewardship of the natural resources in the Northern Agricultural Region is a shared responsibility between all levels of government, public and private organisations, community groups and individuals. A large number of legislative instruments govern or otherwise inform management of the region’s biodiversity, coastal zone, human settlements, production landscapes and water resources.
Federal Government: The federal government provides essential scientific data, technical information and guidance for natural resource management planning and decision-making. The federal government defines national targets, priorities and guidelines and set national legislative and regulatory frameworks.
State Government: State government agencies deliver a broad range of services, administer legislation and manage a significant number of assets (natural and built) and public infrastructure. They provide regulatory and market frameworks, generate and distribute regionally appropriate information and deliver policies and regulations.
Local Government: Local governments are on the frontline of natural resource management planning and action. They inform state and federal governments about the needs of local communities, communicate directly with communities, and respond quickly to local circumstances. They manage large areas of land and are responsible for local planning processes including zoning and development.
Traditional Owners: As major landowners and managers and holders of significant local ecological knowledge, Aboriginal peoples have an important stake and significant role to play in natural resource management planning and action through independent Aboriginal corporations and other organisations, native title rights and processes and relevant government agencies.
Private organisations: Many businesses and industries are dependent on land and other natural resources. They provide significant employment and economic development opportunities and are responsible for operating in a sustainable manner to minimise the impact of their activities on the region’s natural resources.
NACC NRM: The Northern Agricultural Catchments Council (NACC NRM) is the regional natural resource management group in the NAR, working in partnership with all tiers of government, regional organisations, industry, landowners and environmental groups. NACC is the custodian of the regional NRM strategy, and is responsible for ensuring that the strategy is up-to-date and represents the needs and priorities of the local NRM community in the NAR.
Local NGOs and producer groups: The many local and regional conservation NGOs and agricultural producer groups active in the region work directly with local landowners, land managers and communities. These groups undertake a wide range of activities including raising environmental awareness, coordinating action on, for example, soil health or biosecurity, conducting monitoring activities and implementing species or site protection actions.
Community groups: The community plays an important role in natural resource management planning and action in the NAR. Many people play an active role in management, monitoring and rehabilitation activities through their involvement in local Coastcare and Landcare groups or recreational user groups.
Individuals: The land and waters of the region provide an array of livelihood and recreational opportunities for the community. Ensuring that enjoyment of these resources contributes to conserving our soil, water and biodiversity and does not negatively impact on the environment is everyone’s responsibility
Land uses in the Northern Agricultural Region include agriculture, biodiversity conservation, mining, human settlements and associated infrastructure and tourism. The long coastline and many offshore islands support lots of coastal and marine biodiversity, a variety of recreational activities and a very productive fishing industry. Threatening processes include unsustainable land uses, habitat loss, climate change and the impacts of feral animals and invasive weeds. The responsibility for sustainable natural resource management in our region lies with many different stakeholders from individuals to industries, and we all need to work together to achieve the best long-term outcomes for our local communities and biodiversity – infographic by Rachel Weaver, Studio8T4.