State of the Environment Report: A wake-up call we’re ready to answer
The grim news about the state of Australia’s environment is a much-needed reality check which re-affirms our commitment to the future of the most northern region of Queensland, Cape York Natural Resource Management CEO Bob Frazer said.
“The Cape is one of the most diverse ecological regions in Australia, and we have dedicated almost 12 years to ensuring its flora, fauna, waterways, and communities survive and thrive for future generations,” he said in response to the State of the Environment Report released by the Federal Environment and Water Minister Tanya Plibersek in July.
“We welcome the minister’s release of the much-anticipated report and her commitment to working with federal, state, and regional agencies and organisations within a more coordinated legal framework, as well as her pledge to propose a new, independent environment protection agency.”
The report, released every five years, has found climate change and natural disasters are putting increased pressure on Australia’s ecosystems; that the number of threatened species has risen; that the nation now has more foreign plant species than native; and that there have been continued declines in the amount and condition of native vegetation, soil, wetlands, reefs, rivers and biodiversity.
“These natural resources are the focus of our not-for-profit organisation which has been working with governments, land managers and the NRM sector to provide grass-roots solutions on the Cape since it was founded in 2010,” Mr Frazer said.
“Importantly, this report has included Indigenous co-authors and recognises the cultural and historical knowledge of Traditional Owners in management of their Country. In Cape York, this is an essential recognition and we work closely with Indigenous land managers across all of our projects.”
Mr Frazer said Cape York NRM’s dedicated team of experts also worked with land and sea rangers, graziers, environmental land managers and the community on projects that serve to:
- enhance Cape York's wetlands and soils and offer protection to the waters of the Gulf of Carpentaria and the northern Great Barrier Reef;
- protect threatened plant and animal species;
- improve fire management on the Cape; and
- build Traditional Owner land management capacity.
On-ground projects are varied and targeted and include such work as coordinating gully erosion remediation and training Traditional Owners in heavy machinery operation to carry out such works into the future; coordinating and assisting in Cape York fire management, training and education in both western and Indigenous cultural burning practices and carbon capture projects; protecting threatened species such as the Golden-shouldered parrot, littoral rainforests, ant plants, cassowaries, sawfish and turtles; education and upskilling in water quality surveying in rivers, estuaries and wetlands and carrying out remediation and land regeneration to improve sediment run-off into the Great Barrier Reef; soils education and testing across farmlands; improving pastoral grazing and beef production practices; invasive weed education, training and eradication; and feral animal containment.
“Our NRM work is focused on knowledge sharing and results, and our successes are testimony to the long-term commitment to, and interaction with, the people of Cape York,” Mr Frazer said.
“We look forward to continuing to work with government and other partners - in particular, our strong network of both Queensland and national NRM bodies - to arrest the current trajectory for the nation’s environment and to ensure a sustainable future for generations to come.”