Catchment-scale governance in Northern Australia: a preliminary evaluation

Dale, Allan P., Pressey, Bob, Adams, Vanessa M., Álvarez-Romero, Jorge G., Digby, Mike, Dobbs, Rebecca, Douglas, Michael, Augé, Amélie A., Maughan, Mirjam, Childs, John, Hinchley, David, Landcaster, Ian, Perdrisat, Ian, and Gobius, Niilo (2014) Catchment-scale governance in Northern Australia: a preliminary evaluation. Journal of Economic and Social Policy, 16 (1). pp. 1-27.

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Abstract

Northern Australia covers vast and diverse landscapes comprising largely public and Indigenous tenures. Long-term Aboriginal and pastoral management, isolation and a challenging terrain and climate have shaped a landscape of national, if not international, conservation value. Northern Australia, however, also has a fragile economy, and there is tension amongst Indigenous, economic and conservation interests. Managed poorly, emerging conflicts could damage the real opportunities that each presents, resulting in major land and natural resource-use conflicts or unsustainable development. As healthy governance systems are the key to effective natural resource management (NRM), this paper presents a preliminary exploration of the health of NRM governance across Northern Australia, with a focus on the catchment scale. We analysed three focal catchments; the Fitzroy in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, the Daly in the top end of the Northern Territory and the Gilbert in north-western Queensland. We find that the governance of each catchment has different strengths and weaknesses depending on history and context. Common challenges, however, include shifting national and state/territory policy frameworks, fragmented funding of science and limited consensus building via spatial decision support. From this analysis, we explore potential reforms in catchment governance across this increasingly contested landscape.

Item ID: 31493
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: Northern Australia, governance systems, regional development, catchment management
Additional Information:

JESP is an open access journal which means that all content is freely available without charge to the user or his/her institution. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles in this journal without asking prior permission from the publisher or the author. This is in accordance with the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) definition of open access which can be accessed at this link http://www.soros.org/openaccess/read.shtml.

ISSN: 1325-2224
Funders: Department of Industry, Innovation Science, Research and Tertiary Education (DIISRTE), Australian Research Council (ARC), National Environmental Research Program Tropical Ecosystems Hub, Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge (TRaCK) research hub
Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2014 02:04
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050209 Natural Resource Management @ 80%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050201 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Environmental Knowledge @ 20%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9606 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation > 960604 Environmental Management Systems @ 60%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960501 Ecosystem Assessment and Management at Regional or Larger Scales @ 40%
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