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Welcome to the Cape York Healthy Country Newsletter

This edition of the Healthy Country newsletter reflects the huge amount of work going on across the Cape now that we are well and truly into the ‘dry’ season. It seems everything is busy across Cape York at the moment, with a massive number of visitors to the region, mustering underway on many properties, and landholders busy getting their early dry season burning completed before 1 August.

Cape York NRM has been busy working on the governance, program and project delivery of NRM activities across all of Cape York.

At the project level, the article on pages 10–11 highlights the work in coordinating burning across 23 properties and 1.6million hectares. Other articles highlight the work being undertaken by landholders addressing erosion and sedimentation on the Reef while improving grazing land condition and efficiency.

On pages 12–13, we are launching a citizen science project that will make it possible for everyone to report threatened species sightings. This will start with the ant plant and southern cassowary, two species found in the rainforests of Cape York.

At the program level, we have been working with land managers across the full range of activities related to the carbon market. We recently completed a study into the feasibility of a multi-landholder, savanna burning carbon project in the Normanby catchment, assisted landholders with current projects at a workshop in Laura, and supported the Rinyiru and Melsonby Rangers to investigate the co-benefits of carbon farming (page 15). We’ve also been working closely with the Torres and Cape Indigenous Councils Alliance (TCICA) to try and address some of the challenges and opportunities the increasing number of tourists bring.

At the governance level, we have continued the development of the updated regional NRM Plan. The development of the Plan is driven by Cape York NRM, but this is not our plan, this is the plan for the whole region. We heard the feedback and have tried to minimise the number of workshops and events for developing the Plan, by considering all the previous plans and activities that have been undertaken across the Cape. The article on page 5 outlines the development of the plan, and the draft plan is on track for release in August.

Importantly, over the last 18 months the Board of Cape York NRM has been reviewing the governance arrangements for the organisation. This has culminated in a proposed new constitution that reflects the recommendations of the Board. The proposed new design is more open and will enable a stronger knowledge, skill set, and diversity to the current model, and make the organisation more efficient. The proposed new constitution will change the governance of the organisation—the ‘how’ we operate. The changes do not alter the ‘what’ we do or ‘why’ we do it, with the objects and purpose remaining the same. More information is available on pages 6–7, and I encourage all members to come along to the Special General Meeting on 13 August, or to nominate a proxy.

It’s been an action-packed first half of 2021 and I hope to see you at the Special General Meeting, or somewhere on the Cape soon.

Warm regards John Gavin 

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