James Cook University
Scoping study: Supporting regional planning in northern Australia
The Australian Government’s White Paper for Developing Northern Australia is focused on realising the full economic potential of the north, including a plan for implementing these policies over the next five, 10 and 20 years. Development in northern Australia has had bi-partisan and bi-lateral political support for many years and thus receives significant policy and funding profile. However, the agenda is widely considered to have under-achieved against its aspirations, operating in a heavily contested space and resulting in poor outcomes for development and the environment. With little strategic regional planning effort across the landscape, disputes over environmental issues are central to this contestation, affecting development proponents, government agency decision-makers, Traditional Owners and affected communities. We believe we can make a positive contribution to easing (often known as de-risking) this contested landscape.
To assist in achieving sustainable development in the north, this project will scope a clear way forward and quality approaches to regional planning based on building high quality ecological data, a comprehensive understanding of stakeholder needs, informing legislative and planning requirements and respect for Traditional Owners rights and aspirations. This project, via a series of workshops and interviews across the north, will identify new pathways to achieve positive planning outcomes and explore improved approaches to the way the unique environment of Northern Australia can be better managed and protected. This will be achieved via a collaboration between the NESP Resilient Landscape Hub and the CRC for Northern Australia, thus covering terrestrial, marine and socio-economic issues in strategic partnership. The project will also work closely with the Western Australian, Queensland and Northern Territory Governments.