Sharing Stories of Success – Story 2 Planning for Development and Conservation across Northern Australia

Click this link for pdf version Kimberley to Cape Shared Stories Series – 2 Planning ___________________________________________________________________________

Topic 2: Planning for development and conservation across Northern Australia – a discussion


What might success look like for development and conservation planning across the North?

  1. Resilient institutions and governance arrangements support people and place-relevant collaborative planning, negotiation and decision-making over long time frames.
  2. Existing collaborative planning efforts are recognised and used, leveraged and connected more effectively
  3. Planning processes support all aspirations relevant to development and conservation (social, cultural, economic, ecological) and recognise that these are connected. Planning processes also recognise the new reality of native title and land ownership.
  4. Communities are equipped to plan for development and conservation or provide input to collaborative planning processes, ie they have sufficient capacity, adequate governance arrangements, and effective processes, tools and resources.
  5. Collaborative planning processes and tools are being used at a variety of scales to imagine, identify and map possible development and conservation options
  6. Communities, planners and governments are aware of, and use, the best available data and are supported to access these data.
  7. Planning guides onground activities and investment, and plans are implemented.
  8. Landscape and regional planning signals strategic directions for future resource use and conservation, anticipates and often resolves trade-offs between competing uses, lifts investor confidence and provides foundations for finer-scale tenure resolution, property diversification processes and land management.
  9. Planning is nested and connected ie local plans influence broader plans that influence policy, and vice versa, and neighbouring plans link, so that identified values, opportunities and risks are strategic, informed and relative.
  10. Planning is dynamic and adaptive and ‘’learns” as it goes. It incorporates and adjusts to changes, opportunities and risks.
  11. Planning is prioritised where conflicts affect, or may affect, investment security or important natural/cultural assets.
  12. The relative roles and capacities of national, state/territory, regional and local entities in development and conservation planning have been explored, capacity has been built where needed and responsibilities are clear.
  13. A good planning process is as important as the plan itself.


How we might contribute to achieving success:

Promotion focused actions:

  • Promote the elements of success as described above to government, industry, the environment sector and others to generate discussion and feedback and to continue to align messages around planning.
  • Promote the benefits of good collaborative planning and the costs of poor planning eg good collaborative planning can ensure maximum benefits from development by identifying economies appropriate to people and place, increasing investor certainty, minimising negative impacts, ensuring tradeoffs are transparent etc.
  • Particularly promote collaborative planning mechanisms, tools, resources and key natural and cultural data sets available (planning mechanisms may include eg Healthy Country Planning, Indigenous prospectus proposal, Development by Design planning; tools may include data portals, spatial tools).

Facilitation focused actions

  • Work with industry, Indigenous groups, environment groups and government to develop principles to inform and guide development and conservation planning across the North (eg collaborative, longterm, strategic, adaptive) and seek broader endorsement of these.
  • Agree on a shared framework for collaborative development and conservation planning (ie agree on the key components of collaborative planning processes and resulting plans). This should build from existing processes and plan components with the emphasis on reinforcing current successful approaches (a possible example of a product might be a simple version of the water planning guidelines agreed to by all states and territories).
  • Advance a land-use compatibility framework (as in Table 6.1 of The Nature of Northern Aust) as a planning process or tool.
  • Scope and run a workshop on how to better support local level planning for development and conservation (link with review below)

Research focused actions (which would identify messages etc to promote when complete)

  • Identify and promote examples of successful planning for development and conservation to illustrate the benefits of good planning to communities and others.
  • Undertake or call for a review of current planning relevant to development and conservation across the North at a variety of scales in order to better understand and add value to planning efforts to date etc (especially local efforts). The review could incorporate a) plans themselves, b) planning approaches/mechanisms/processes, c) planning tools, d) data sets used. It could look for a) common themes and elements, common goals and/or actions (including management approaches and monitoring) that can be linked or combined for increased effectiveness, b) opportunities to enhance connectivity and c) gaps or misalignments with emerging evidence bases. Results could be spatially mapped.
  • Identify key natural and if possible cultural data sets that can be used for development and conservation planning and facilitate easy access to, and place-relevant analysis of, such datasets.

Planning for Development and Conservation Goal – to help ensure the North’s future is collaboratively planned at local to landscape scales rather than based on ad hoc or poorly supported decisions, so that natural and cultural values are enhanced, and communities strengthened, from the Kimberley to Cape York.