26 September 2023

Canberra’s environment future unveiled

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A 20-year draft vision for managing the ACT’s natural resources has been unveiled by the Environmental, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate (EPSDD) to help ensure a balance between human activities and natural processes.

Opening the draft Caring for Dhawura Ngunnawal: A Natural Resource Plan for the ACT 2022-2042 for feedback, EPSDD said natural resource management was the integrated management of the natural resources that made up Australia’s landscapes, such as land, water, soil, plants and animals.

“That is, our land, water, biodiversity and cultural assets,” EPSDD said.

Welcoming the draft Plan, the Minister for the Environment, Rebecca Vassarotti said it proposed key focus areas of biodiversity conservation, ecosystem and habitation functions as well as sustainable agriculture and Aboriginal cultural heritage and traditional knowledge.

“Plans like this are important in setting a vision for the protection and sustainable use of natural resources across our region,” Ms Vassarotti said.

“They identify and prioritise our goals, targets and associated actions,” she said.

“Importantly, this provides a framework for how we can work together with the local community to achieve those goals.”

Ms Vassarotti said the draft Plan, open for consultation until 17 November, also reflected current and emerging challenges in areas like climate change, pest plants and animals, urban expansion, waterways, and bushfire hazards.

She said the Plan would provide the ACT Government, Commonwealth Government and other stakeholders with a range of goals and actions to collectively achieve.

The Minister said key actions included the promotion of Ngunnawal language by re-naming places, animals and plants and incorporating Ngunnawal language into education; the development of a Cultural Heritage Plan; and a River Ranger program to work alongside Ngunnawal Traditional Custodians to track river health.

Ms Vassarotti said the key actions also covered the establishment of a nature prescription project; land tenure arrangements; and an independent Natural Resource Management advisory group to advise on the activities and implementation of the Plan and associated programs.

“I am grateful for the wealth of experience and knowledge that Canberra has, and I am asking you to review the draft plan and continue to provide valuable feedback so we can develop the best possible plan of management for the next 20 years,” she said.

EPSDD’s 103-page Draft Plan can be accessed at this PS News link.

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