Addressing the impacts of climate change remains a priority for Queensland’s natural resource management groups, and Queensland’s peak body for natural resource management, Natural Resource Management Regions Queensland (NRMRQ), is calling on State election candidates to support regional NRM groups’ efforts towards climate change adaptation.
Cape York NRM’s Chairperson and Sector Director for Primary Industries, Emma Jackson, said there is no denying that the climate is changing, and that people on the land are noticing significant shifts in seasons, temperatures and rainfall.
“There is no longer any doubt that the climate scientists are right – we are experiencing these changes already, and land managers on Cape York have already felt the impacts and are starting to think about how we need to adapt” Mrs Jackson said.
Hotter, drier seasons can mean soils dry quicker and become more prone to erosion, access to water supplies may reduce, and the threat of wildfires can increase.
“On the Cape everything is connected – our agricultural livelihoods are fully dependent on healthy soils and access to water, so understanding what is happening with our climate is incredibly important to this sector” Mrs Jackson said.
Chief Executive Officer of NRMRQ, Andrew Drysdale, said that the Queensland Government needed to apply the ‘precautionary principle’ and act on ensuring Queenslanders are doing all they can to look after the land.
“This means more investment is needed to support NRM groups and land managers” Mr Drysdale said.
“There is ample evidence to show that the impacts of climate change can cause harm, so the government has a social responsibility to act, and to reduce foreseeable risks” Mr Drysdale said.
Environmental disturbances, such as shifts in climatic conditions, create the perfect conditions for the spread of weeds.
“Weeds cost Queenslanders an estimated $600 million every year – so we can’t afford to be complacent. NRM groups are at the forefront – working with land managers on a daily basis to manage weeds, and to look after land condition” Mr Drysdale said.
Emma Jackson said that land managers are doing the best they can with funding from the State, but that more investment was needed to stay on top of the spread of weeds.
“We appreciate the support we have, but every year NRM groups are expected to do more with less, and with challenges like climate change we need to stay ahead of the game” Mrs Jackson said.
“On Cape York the effort it takes to manage weeds like rubber vine, pond apple and gamba grass, is huge. Cape York NRM is helping land managers target weeds, and to link people with expert advice and support. There is a lot that goes on in the background to enable the on-ground work to happen.
“We need the ongoing commitment from the Queensland Government to be able to continue this important work” Mrs Jackson said.