Closing the gap…
  • Tuesday 17 June 2008

Recognising that the health of our local waterways depends on closing the gap between policy and outcomes, national water quality managers and policy makers are on the Coast to attend a forum chaired by eminent environmentalist Professor Ian Lowe, AO, Tuesday 17 June at Twin Waters Resort.

The Urbanization and Waterway Health Forum was instigated by the Sunshine Coast Regional Council, and is jointly hosted by Council, Healthy Waterways, and the Local Government Association of Queensland.

It aims to highlight the impacts of urban development on waterways, identify the best tools for controlling these impacts, and to explore better strategies and courses of action to protect the health of our creeks, rivers and estuaries during this period of rapid population growth.

Mayor, Bob Abbot said waterway management crossed geographic and jurisdictional boundaries and success at the local level was reliant on the effectiveness of the policy, planning and legal tools provided at the state and federal levels.

“Urbanization affects the quality and volume of water in our waterways and can also lead to loss of aquatic habitats. Unfortunately, there’s no silver bullet when it comes to addressing these impacts, it requires policy alignment and cooperation between all levels of government – that’s why we’re holding this forum.”

Australian Conservation Foundation chairman, Professor Ian Lowe AO said waterway health should be paramount throughout all stages of urbanization.

“If you look at the condition of Australia’s estuaries you’ll see that those near large populations are in poor health. We are fortunate here on the Sunshine Coast that many of our waterways are still in good condition; however, we need to ensure that the policies and management actions available to protect our waterways are working hand-in-glove if we want them to remain that way.”

Presenters include Earl Shaver, an expert adviser to water management programs in the United States and New Zealand, A/Prof Chris Walsh of Melbourne University, and A/Prof John Argue of Flinders University SA. Staff from the National Water Commission and relevant state and local government agencies will be participating.