The ACT Government has released a draft 20-year plan for Canberra’s natural resources including our biodiversity and Aboriginal cultural heritage. The community is encouraged to provide feedback over the next six weeks.
The draft plan, Caring for Dhawura Ngunnawal: A Natural Resource Plan for the ACT 2022-2042, has key focus areas of biodiversity conservation, ecosystem and habitation functions, 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. They identify and prioritise our goals, targets and associated actions. Importantly, this provides a framework for how we can work together with the local community to achieve those goals,” Minister for the Environment Rebecca Vassarotti said.
“The plan also reflects current and emerging challenges in areas like climate change, pest plants and animals, urban expansion, waterways, and bushfire hazards.
“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.
“Through our discussion paper which we released in April 2021, we heard from the community emphasised the importance of acknowledging Ngunnawal cultural values, climate resilience, and the connections between people and nature within the overall vision of the plan.
“The response reiterates what we already know – Canberrans are passionate about the environment and the natural landscape we are lucky enough to enjoy in the ACT. We listened and incorporated your input and are now asking you to make sure we got it right.”
The plan will provide the ACT Government, Commonwealth Government and other stakeholders with a range of goals and actions to collectively achieve. Some key actions that were identified during stakeholder consultation include:
- Promote Ngunnawal language by re-naming places, animals and plants and incorporate Ngunnawal language into education;
- Develop a Cultural Heritage Plan;
- Instigate a River Ranger program to work alongside Ngunnawal Traditional Custodians to track river health;
- Establish a nature prescription project;
- Explore land tenure arrangements to maximise the opportunity for sustainable farm management; and
- Establish an independent Natural Resource Management advisory group to advise on the activities and implementation of the plan and associated programs.
The plan is supported by the best available science, including the 2019 State of the Environment report, which collated a broad range of research findings that provide a snapshot of the state of environmental resources in the ACT.
The draft plan opens for community feedback today and will be open until 17 November 2022. You can provide input into the Natural Resource Management plan on the YourSay Conversations website.