In 2013, the Northern Gulf Resource Management Group Ltd (NGRMG) received funding from the Australian Government to integrate current climate change science and future scenarios, as well as opportunities for carbon sequestration into our regional planning framework, through a review and update the Regional NRM Plan. The funding has supported a project team within NGRMG to develop a new Regional NRM Plan for the Northern Gulf region, with the final product scheduled to be completed and adopted by February 2016.
This funding enabled the Northern Gulf community and NGRMG board and staff to engage in a strategic planning exercise around the future of the region’s resource base, the results of which may target NRM investment and provide a decision making framework in the Northern Gulf for a period until 2021. It has also provided an opportunity for NGRMG to re-connect with our stakeholders and regional community.
The Northern Gulf Regional Natural Resource Management (NRM) Plan is a community driven, evidence based, regional “road-map” for:
Brokering partnerships, research and investment into priority areas and programs
Directing NRM operations and activities
Adapting to respond to new and emerging opportunities, risks and priorities
…which deliver demonstrable and positive NRM outcomes to the Northern Gulf region.
The role and functions of the NRM Plan are explained here.
Governance arrangements and project planning
Regional assessments, based on review of over 500 academic citations, strategies, reports and datasets.
Expert review of draft NRM regional assessments
Community and stakeholder engagement
Drafting the NRM Plan
Implementation of NRM Plan scoping and adaptive planning process
Over a period from October 2014-August 2015, the planning team has:
Consulted over 40 regional experts and scientists who have been involved in studies and research in the Northern Gulf region
Engaged 64 delegates representing a wide range of stakeholder groups at the Gulf Futures Day on 31 March 2015
Attended 16 local community events to engage local people
Visited 14 small regional centres
Ran stakeholders’ workshops in Karumba, Georgetown and Dimbulah to engage regional industry groups and sectors, attended by a total of 65 people
Consulted with 54 Traditional Owners, and 7 Aboriginal organisations
Conducted a community survey that was completed by 123 people
total northern gulf residents
In total, we directly engaged approximately 920 people in our engagement activities, across the breadth of the region. This represents approximately 10% of the total Northern Gulf residential population. The outcomes of this engagement are explained in more detail in this report.
The values, concerns and recommendations which came out of this exhaustive consultation were then assessed through a rigorous process, led by project staff Natalie Waller and Sarah Rizvi, and then further assessed by the project steering committee and board of directors. The criteria on which we used to assess the Plan can be found here.
The planning doesn’t stop once the Plan has been adopted. While we will move into a “doing” stage, reviewing and reflecting on our efforts and pathways is a necessary part of improving our performance. Therefore, the planning involves an Adaptive Management Strategy to continually develop knowledge and collect evidence to facilitate internal evaluation and adaptation of NRM delivery in the Northern Gulf region, tracking against the Plan. This approach represents an evolution from static Plans which become increasingly less relevant as they age, to “planning as a process” where assumptions and relevance are reviewed and assessed on an ongoing basis for the currency period of the NRM Plan, and beyond. For this evolution to be successful, it will require a culture shift which encourages NRM delivery to be more reflective, more strategic and ultimately, more effective.