LAND USE PLANNING
Objective 1 – The statutory planning framework in the Burdekin Dry Tropics region incorporates the principles of ecological sustainable use and management of natural resources.
- Give due consideration to the capacity of land, prior to the expansion of new irrigated and dryland cropping areas, including assessment of:
- soil health and capabilities;
- water supply;
- natural water cycle management;
- fragmentation of the landscape and ability to retain connectivity between natural landscapes and riparian buffers along water courses;
- crop type needs; and
- point source and diffuse release of chemicals associated with cropping.
- Maintain a user-friendly and web-accessible mapping product for landholders to access property and NRM information.
- Support creation of a public mapping platform to display approved developments so that the community, assessing agencies and decision makers are aware of the total footprint of approved developments.
- Ensure that planning for significant projects and infrastructure developments incorporates measures to protect and appropriately manage natural resource assets, including:
- protecting and buffering healthy waterways;
- protecting water supplies from incompatible land use;
- protecting biodiversity through maintaining significant habitat areas and corridors;
- protecting good quality agricultural land and fertile soil resources from the encroachment of urbanization and inappropriate land use causing reverse amenity;
- avoiding disturbance of acid sulfate soils, and mitigating this where it has occurred; and
- appropriate waste management.
- Maintain air quality buffer zones between sensitive land uses and industrial and agricultural development to ensure air is consistently healthy to breathe.
- Investigate, and where suitable promote, alternative industries that are appropriate to the landscape and natural attributes of the area.
Objective 2 – Natural processes and the protective function of landforms and vegetation are maintained or enhanced to mitigate natural hazard risks.
- Ensure that land use planning in our region does not lead to increased development in natural hazard areas (for example coastal erosion prone and storm tide inundation areas, steep slopes and bushfire hazard areas).
- Incorporate and give due consideration to the geomorphologic characteristics of a site during planning and development.
For example: geomorphology may extend beyond general civil engineering requirements and may impact on issues such as natural drainage and landscape stability.
- Maintain updated publicly-available mapping of natural hazard studies and mapping for the Burdekin Dry Tropics region.
- Develop and distribute community information packages on natural processes, risks and environmental values of areas such as riparian, wetland and coastal ecosystems.
LAND MANAGEMENT AND SOIL HEALTH
Objective 5 – Regional strategic direction for land management and long-term improvement in soil health.
- Support a collaborative representative group, with sub-regional representation, to develop a regional soil management plan that can inform cropping, horticulture and grazing land management.
The plan will:
- collate existing information including resource condition;
- update and refine soil mapping to be suitable for property scale use;
- further investigate the optimal levels for soil health across grazing and cropping regions;
- determine management targets to maintain or improve land condition and soil health;
- develop and improve upon best management practice techniques; and
- create a monitoring, evaluation and review programme.
2. Support land managers to undertake adaptive management to maintain or improve land condition, by raising their awareness and building their capacity to identify the capability of their land, adopt innovative management techniques, and employ best management practices.
Objective 6 – An informed and involved community effectively manages biosecurity (weeds, diseases and pests) to reduce adverse impacts on agricultural land productivity.
Please see Biodiversity section for further strategies relating to biosecurity.
- Support development of integrated regional biosecurity information systems and tools to support decision making that also reduces impacts on agricultural productivity.
- Continue to develop regional biosecurity capacity through:
- the Burdekin Dry Tropics Regional Pest Strategy;
- key industry bodies; and
- Biosecurity Queensland.
For example: maintain a public register of potential pests / weeds and prompt declaration processes.
Objective 7 – Soil biological functions are maintained, including:
- maintaining organic matter levels to support other physical, chemical and biological functions;
- maintaining biological capacity for nutrient cycling and a resilient physical structure; and
- avoiding populations of damaging pathogens, weeds and other pests.
- Support the development and promotion of innovative methods to maintain and increase soil carbon within cropping, horticulture and grazing systems. For example: increasing ground cover; promoting plant (crop and pasture) diversity and vigour for increased rooting biomass. Maintain soil chemical and physical function.
Note: biological, chemical and physical functions are all interlinked and dependent on each other – e.g. healthy biology is very dependent on having the soil chemistry and structure in good condition.
Objective 8 – Soil chemical functions are maintained, including:
- supplying nutrients in the right proportions for plant growth;
- maintaining pH that supports plant growth and soil organisms; and
- avoiding toxic levels of nutrient, trace metals and pesticides residue.
- Support the development, promotion and uptake of innovative and proven methods to maintain and improve soil fertility in both grazing and cropping lands.
- Prevent the buildup of any nutrients or chemicals to toxic levels and undertake prompt remediation where required. For example: match nutrient applications with crop needs. Utilise fertilisers that are least likely to be lost from the paddock. Maintain soil pH at natural ranges or adjusted for crops as required. Maintain good biological activity for maximum nutrient cycling.
Objective 9 – Soil physical functions are maintained, including:
- getting water into the soil with minimal runoff and erosion;
- storing plant-available water;
- maintaining a friable structure for root growth and water extraction; and
- maintaining gas permeability.
- Promote and implement cultivation practices that minimise soil disturbance, and maintain soil fertility. For example: precision agriculture, and matching irrigation and fertiliser practices with crop needs.
- Promote and implement grazing management practices that maintain an end-of-dry-season groundcover and minimise soil disturbance. For example: high rotation grazing, or maintaining and improving the condition and cover of long-term perennial vegetation on grazing lands, to maintain good biology activity for maximum nutrient cycling and soil structure to assist water infiltration and reduce sheet/hillslope and gully erosion.
- Avoid, or where it is occurring, remediate gully and stream bank erosion.
Objective 10 – The extent of dryland salinity does not increase due to impacts from pastoral and agricultural practices.
- Increase awareness and understanding of the impacts of dryland salinity, and identify and employ appropriate land uses and management practices in priority areas. For example: rehabilitate sites with saline adaptive plantings.
Objective 11 – The environment is protected from the disturbance and oxidation of acid sulfate soils, including their direct and flow-on adverse impacts.
- Increase awareness and understanding of where acid sulfate soils are located, their impacts, and how to avoid, mitigate and rehabilitate affected areas.
Objective 12 – Abandoned mines, mineral processing plants and exploration activities do not compromise community safety, the health of the surrounding environment and ecological processes, and productivity of rural land.
- Support and facilitate programmes and processes to rehabilitate abandoned mines and repair ecosystem functions within our region, including using rehabilitation bonds to undertake necessary repair or maintenance work.
- Investigate alternative ongoing productive uses for abandoned mining sites. For example: power generation or processing facilities.
Before or by 2026:
LAND USE PLANNING
- the most up-to-date and comprehensive data and information (statutory and non-statutory) is used when developing local planning instruments and regional statutory policies and plans.
- urban development occurs in the most appropriate areas (ie. not in hazard areas, high biodiversity areas or good quality agricultural land.
LAND MANAGEMENT & SOIL HEALTH
- there is improved soil health in our region;
- there is a reduction in nutrient and sediment loads to the GBR, and targets identified in the Burdekin WQIP and Reef 2050 Plan are achieved; and
- there are rehabilitated abandoned mines, resulting in repaired ecosystem function.