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Government investment welcomed to support economic recovery in North Queensland

Media Release - 9 September 2020

Conservation and land management organisations welcome investment in 130 nature jobs to support economic recovery in North Queensland

Funding for 11 land management projects supporting around 130 nature-based jobs will deliver great outcomes for the environment and for people in regional communities, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts, NRM Regions Queensland and Queensland Water and Land Carers. 

The Reef Assist projects, announced today by Premier Palaszczuk and Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch, have been welcomed by environment and land management organisations as a testament to the role that conservation and land management jobs can play in the state’s economic recovery. 

“This investment will provide practical work and economic benefits for regional and remote communities to aid economic recovery, while leaving lasting benefits for Queensland’s environment, agriculture and nature-based tourism industry,” said Pepe Clarke, Deputy Director, Pew Charitable Trusts. 

“These jobs will also deliver positive environmental outcomes such as improved resilience to natural disasters, improved water quality, habitat restoration, and weed and pest management.” 

“Right now, tens of thousands of people are out of work across Queensland due to the economic impacts of COVID-19. We encourage the Queensland Government to build on today’s announcement by making further investment in nature-based jobs to provide much needed work and support economic recovery in hard-hit tourism dependent regions,” said Mr Clarke. 

“A large number of conservation and farming organisations have been working with the Queensland Government to highlight the opportunity for jobs in the conservation and land management sector to deliver practical, hands-on work for regional communities,” said Chris Norman, CEO of NRM Regions Queensland. 

“We welcome the Palaszczuk Government’s announcement of these 130 jobs and encourage them to consider making further investments in regional jobs which also protect, conserve and manage our iconic natural assets,” said Mr Norman. 

“In regional areas this sort of work not only provides opportunities for young people, Indigenous people and the general community but the connections that get made build resilience in the community,” said Darryl Ebenezer, Executive Officer of Queensland Water and Land Carers. 

“As we recover from the coronavirus recession, this sort of hands-on positive work is exactly what we need to improve community well being.” said Mr Ebenezer. 

The Pew Charitable Trusts, NRM Regions Queensland and Queensland Water and Land Carers are part of a coalition of over 70 conservation and farming organisations who came together to develop a plan for economic stimulus through a large scale conservation and land management program. 

Media contacts

Sophia Walter, The Pew Charitable Trusts, 0476260028, Chris Norman, NRM Regions Queensland, 0419 790 943

Darryl Ebenezer, Queensland Water and Land Carers, 0407696792 

Notes for editors

NRM Regions Queensland is the representative body for natural resource management in Queensland, providing a single, strong voice for the 12 regional natural resource management groups covering Queensland’s entire land mass. 

The Pew Charitable Trusts is an international research and public policy organisation that works in Australia to promote conservation and sustainable management of Outback landscapes and the marine environment, working in partnership with landholders, industry, traditional owners, scientists and conservation organisations. 

Queensland Water and Land Carers is the peak body in Queensland for natural resource management (NRM) volunteers and part of the National Landcare Network. 

[1] An Ernst and Young analysis found that Port Douglas, Whitsunday, Cairns, Livingstone and Isaac are predicted to be the hardest hit local government areas in Queensland once JobKeeper ends in September. The analysis also found that the benefits of investment in conservation and land management jobs as part of economic stimulus include: 

· The ability to employ many workers with no previous experience in conservation and land management work, allowing people who have lost their jobs in other sectors to participate in the program. 

· The creation of thousands of jobs in the conservation and land management sector, which will reduce the demand for welfare payments such as JobSeeker and Youth Allowance. 

· The ability to temporarily transfer workers who have lost their job in different industries may prevent displacement of people to other regions. 

· The nature of the program, which involves many labour-intensive tasks, means that much of the work can be completed in a Covid-19 safe environment. 

· The potential for participants in the program to upskill or retrain in conservation and land management roles, ensuring the creation of practical and transferable skills such as teamwork, communication, leadership and job readiness. 

· The proposed activities build on existing models and mechanisms, which will help drive the success of the program. 

· The increase in conservation and land management efforts has the potential to improve future agricultural productivity and reduce the cost of restoration of degraded environments.