Regional Investment Strategy

Developing a community regional investment strategy

In 2013 we worked with the community and technical experts to develop a Regional Investment Strategy. Since then we have spent three years implementing this strategy. We have seen changes in investment, learned from project lessons and listened through our engagement. All of this has led to where we are now, implementing the current community investment strategy of six key natural resource management theme priorities, development and implementation of the planning by doing methodology that has resulted in the identification of the eight Cape York Regional NRM plan targets and adaptation pathways.

Why and how did we do this?

Cape York NRM operations started in July 2011, with funding committed to projects for the first two years. Cape York NRM's board had limited say in how this funding was invested. We then had a new opportunity to develop projects for investment from July 2013, but we needed a process to develop a Regional Investment Strategy that required minimal resources. We hence used a process that involved a review of previous planning and consultation documents, two regional community regional investment strategy workshops, numerous project engagements through workshops and events, delivery of and support to delivery of projects, improving collection and reporting of data and monitoring and evaluation of projects.

Where did this lead us?

The resulting Regional Investment strategy in 2013-2018 and its implementation in 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16 was focused on achieving identified activities related to six natural resource management themes developed from the original Program Logic model of planning. We listened to the community's way of describing natural resources, who provided these priorities and activities as a way to invest in improved management of Cape York's complex landscape. In 2014 we re-visited the regional investment strategy with our partners and introduced evaluation of progress thus far from lessons learnt from the delivery of projects underway and climate messages that we had at the time to consider if the priorities and activities required updating. 

The review and analysis of regional and community NRM related planning documents in 2013 led to the identification of 23 Big Concerns. These were subsequently workshopped with our sector members and technical experts to re-prioritise. Analysis of workshop outcomes identified the six major investment themes and activities that formed the basis of our Community Regional Investment Strategy (RIS). The 23 Big concerns that were identified from the document review using a social ecological systems approach to analysis are outlined below.

Big Concerns

#Big Concerns (in no particular order)
1. Complex, imposed legislation and outside-in policy
2. Division: competition for resources, lack of coordination and duplication of effort
3. Inappropriate governance structures, leadership fragmentation, lack of trust and accountability
4. Economic, social and environment balance
5. Capacity and resources imbalance
6. Lack of action: over-consulting and planning, reinventing the wheel, confusion
7.Non-inclusive and culturally inappropriate consultation processes
8.Land tenure security and slow resolution processes
9.Traditional Owner access to and management of country
10.Loss of cultural values, food and medicines
11.Conservation approach lacks economic component and people on the ground
12.Mining and coal seam gas impacts and management
13.Decline of particular iconic species or ecosystems
14.Threats to biodiversity and pastoral viability (Fire, weeds and feral animals)
15.Erosion, water quality and Great Barrier Reef impacts
16.Unmanaged visitation, illegal activity
17.Roads and road management impacts
18.Carbon farming opportunities and conflicts
19.Logistics complexity (remoteness, travel distances/options)
20.Climate change
21.Knowledge gaps and consistency
22.Ineffective and conflicting communication
23.Others –e.g. quarantine, shipping pollution, community health

In addition to the identification and agreement on the six key NRM priorities. The participants identified several issues of most concern. These were:

  • Threats 
  • Land Tenure
  • Erosion (affecting the Great Barrier Reef particularly)
  • Imposed legislation

Several other high priority concerns included including division amongst interest groups, poor governance, mining and knowledge gaps. Our regional investment strategy and NRM plan aim to address these concerns through the six RIS priorities and the eight NRM targets.

The current Regional Investment Strategy will be workshopped again with community again in 2017 with achievements evaluated. This will contribute to development of the next Cape York community regional investment strategy.