I led a three-person team in coordinating the Sustainable Management of the Helidon Hills project in 1998-99. The project engaged the community and other stakeholders in sustainable management planning for the complex land use and management issues faced by one of the largest remaining areas of mostly continuous bushland in South East Queensland, including preparation of the Sustainable Management of the Helidon Hills Management Plan.
From its inception, the project sought to be different. The Helidon Hills represents a microcosm of the issues currently facing NRM planners all over Australia and internationally. These relate to the management of change across a broad front including industry development, conservation, natural resource management, community access to resources, cultural heritage, infrastructure development and tourism potential. The impact of any of these changes in the Helidon Hills area had the potential to significantly disrupt the rich heritage that is woven into the fabric of community and family life in the area, not to mention the threat to livelihood.
The preferred management approach was to develop a cooperative and coordinated strategy involving all affected stakeholders including landholders, industries, Local, State and Commonwealth Governments, and other interest groups. This management approach represents a different challenge for governments. The implementation of strategies identified in the project are largely the responsibility of the community, especially landholders and community groups. It was recognised that achieving these outcomes requires a different approach to traditional land use planning. The challenge was to develop a methodology that found common ground between a wider community desire for environmental and cultural heritage preservation on the one hand and the aspirations of the local community, particularly landholders, on the other. The ‘win-win’ approach adopted included involving landholders and the community from day one and researching and developing innovative win-win solutions to complex and competing issues.
|Helidon Hills Management Plan (PDF 0.5 MB)|
|Media article at commencement of project, Toowoomba Chronicle (PDF 0.3 MB)|
|Media article at completion of project, Gatton Star (PDF 0.2 MB|