Connections

The Kimberley to Cape Connections initiative aims to strengthen connections between people who are working  to safeguard the North’s natural and cultural values, to strengthen connections between people and country, and to safeguard landscape and catchment-to-coast connections.

Our vision is to ensure the world’s greatest tropical savanna retains its outstanding natural values, supports its vital Indigenous cultures, and hosts strong communities, from the Kimberley to Cape York.

The Connections initiative is initially focusing on strengthening connections among people working on large environmental or biodiversity projects across the North. It is working towards a ‘collective impact’ approach based around shared goals, aligning activities and supporting local efforts. It emphasises facilitation, coordination, information exchange and supporting onground work, and recognises the diversity of identities and aspirations of groups working across the North.

Achievements to date

  • Agreement on a shared vision
  • Agreement to work towards a collective impact approach
  • Agreement on draft set of shared goals
  • Agreement to  regularly share information on activities and priorities, to identify gaps and opportunities and to coordinate efforts where useful
  • Agreement on key backbone services to be provided by Kimberley to Cape

Current Activities

KtC is facilitating monthly teleconferences where participants a) share environment-related activities and priorities relevant to Northern Australia, b) discuss a focus topic, and c) identify opportunities/threats/gaps that organisations may be interested in working on.

Organi­sations participating in teleconferences include the Australian Conservation Foundation, Bush Heritage Australia, Cairns and Far North Queensland Environment Centre, Environs Kimberley, Greening Australia,  NT Environment Centre, the Nature Conservancy, Pew Charitable Trust, RIEL at Charles Darwin University, the South Endeavour Trust and others. We welcome others to join us – please let us know if you’re interested in being involved in some way…

Focus topics include:

  •  new National Environmental Science Program’s Northern Australia Hub
  •  ‘Places You Love’ alliance
  • White Paper on Developing Northern Australia
  • CSIROs Northern Rivers and Dams report
  • $5B Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility (concessional loans scheme)
  • post 2018 funding for Indigenous ranger groups and IPAs
  • new Threatened species initiatives relevant to the North

Strong Foundation

When industry, Indigenous, NRM, research and environment organisations came together at our Northern Australian Futures Roundtable to identify pathways forward there was strong cross sector support for a landscape connectivity initiative, and the Connections initiative was born. Roundtable participants discussed the successes achieved in projects such as Yellowstone to Yukon and the Canadian Boreal initiative  and agreed on a shared vision and five ‘next steps’. We are working to build the Connections initiative and have great plans to do more when funding is available.

Next Steps (next 6-12 months)

  • Collate an evidence base from which to refine our goals and strategies, and further demonstrate returns on investment. Include documents developed by Indigenous organisations, NRM, industry and environment groups, as well as best available social and biophysical science.
  • Develop a business case to secure expanded and ongoing resources for the initiative
  • Undertake priority activities, such as collaborative workshops, to demonstrate the value of working together.
  • Earn strong buy in from organisations across the North and beyond.

Why is this work important?

Northern Australia hosts the world’s largest intact tropica­l savanna, spectacular natural values and the world’s oldest living culture, yet these outstanding at­tributes remain mostly unrecognised in the current push to develop the North. Biodiversity is declining due to changed fire regimes, inva­sive species and other threats and many communities are losing their connections to country.

We have a unique opportunity to turn this situation around and positively influence current planning for the North, rather than risk inappropriate development which is ex­pensive or impossible reverse. We need keep country and cultural connections intact and to work together to look after the land for future generations…