Our Plan for Cairns Region

We live in a unique part of the world; we have an enviable, tropical lifestyle where our towns, cities and farms remain surrounded by spectacular World Heritage Areas.

We have an opportunity to really embrace our environment to enhance our urban communities and our natural and agricultural landscapes.

Cutting-edge local research and effective grass-roots community groups make genuine contributions to planning and managing our environment. From the coast to the highlands, our diverse communities can support each other to build a healthy landscape.

Our top three priorities

1. Biodiversity

We will work to protect, restore and connect the diverse habitats in our region, to support threatened and endemic species and to improve the high biodiversity values of our region.

The Cairns Region Local Landscape has incredibly high biodiversity values, as well as being home to the largest urban population in the Wet Tropics region and productive agricultural lands. Collaborative planning and action will ensure our plants, animals and ecosystems continue to thrive in this diverse landscape.

“Protection of biodiversity is most important; we don’t have our beautiful place without all our species, especially our pollinators..”

Examples of our priority actions include:

• Protecting existing habitat and forests.
• Minimising threats to threatened species.
• Restoring connectivity between habitat.
• Protecting coastal and mangrove ecosystems.
• Improving resilience of natural systems to climate change.
• Raising community awareness of our beautiful environment, unique flora and fauna and the benefit of intact ecosystems to each and every one of us.

2. Water

We will improve the health of our waterways, providing better habitat for aquatic species and minimising water quality impacts on the Great Barrier Reef.

Our waterways provide us with environmental, recreational, economic and cultural outcomes. Fish and other aquatic species use our coastal streams for breeding and habitat, the Great Barrier Reef is a significant tourist drawcard and our rivers and streams have strong cultural values. Keeping our waterways healthy waterways helps keep our communities and environment healthy.

Examples of our priority actions include:

• Restoring riparian areas.
• Restoring and connecting aquatic habitat for improved movement of aquatic wildlife.
• Improving water quality in streams, rivers and the Great Barrier Reef.
• Completing catchment management plans for our coastal streams.

3. Climate Change

We will build our region’s resilience to the impacts of climate change and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to play our part in mitigating climate change.

Climate change will have wide-reaching effects in our local landscape, from sea level rise to hotter temperatures and changes in the frequency, severity or location of severe weather events.

We will identify and implement actions that help us adapt to these changes and protect our communities and natural systems. Our native plants, animals and ecosystems are already under pressure from habitat loss and invasive species and the additional impact of climate change may require new management approaches to support their ongoing health.

We will continue to advocate for greenhouse gas emissions reductions, doing our part for climate change mitigation.

Examples of our priority actions include:

• Using natural solutions like native plantings and traditional land management to build resilience to climate change and minimise impacts.
• Encouraging reductions in greenhouse gas emissions across the region.
• Increasing understanding of climate change impacts and management responses on biodiversity.

Other priorities:

In addition to these important priorities, we also plan to focus on:

  • Minimising biosecurity risks to our region, particularly from new species;
  • Supporting community awareness and engagement, including through maintaining capacity of community groups;
  • Meaningfully partnering with Traditional Owners and building capacity for integrated natural and cultural resource management outcomes;
  • Investigating and implementing innovative options for quadruple bottom line outcomes, like a smart green economy initiative or environmental markets;
  • Education and awareness play a role in all our priorities and will assist in mobilising the community to effectively implement our priority actions.

Click here for more details on the priority actions identified by the community for the Cairns Region Local Landscape..