Pumicestone Catchment Convergence Feb 2021 – Workshop notes for Agriculture theme (scribe: Graham Webb)

Knowledge gaps / Issues / Other comments

Recommended responses / Opportunities

WHOLE OF CATCHMENT – Farming and forestry

  • Increasing issues linked with recreation in the forestry estate associated with increasing population

    • In particular, 4WD impacts, arson, dumping

    • Losing plantation area to urban development

    • Increasing resources from HQPlantations required to address these increasing issues, including: asbestos removal; road repairs

    • litter and dumping in forestry – is getting worse, exacerbated by increasing costs of landfills and restrictions to landfill operational hours

  • Many environmental/sustainability practices would willingly be taken up by local farmers but there is a huge investment upfront to develop capacity; this is beyond the capability of individual growers

  • Retail pricing for farming produce is set behind the scenes and through international trade agreements, which has resulted in international produce often being cheaper than local-grown produce

  • Since the Covid-19 pandemic, there is a severe labour shortage for agricultural work (e.g. fruit picking), which is a national-level crisis

  • Good quality agricultural land

    • We don’t know well enough if we are growing the right things in the right places (that, is “WHERE” we’re farming)

    • How is good agricultural land and fit-for-purpose farming measured?

    • In planning schemes, urban development is prioritised above quality agricultural land

    • If we have another notable urban expansion into agricultural land, we will lose the whole agricultural industry from the catchment!

  • With measures such as gross regional product, we need to also quantify negatives e.g. resources required by HQP to address poor behaviour

  • Agricultural production is highly vulnerable to climate variation; and is not a given to be viable into the future

  • Observation – Covid-19 pandemic has helped people better appreciate local industries and increase collective appetite for regional self-sufficiency 🙂

  • Forestry impacts:

    • Garner collective support from partners to manage lands for both production AND community benefits

    • Develop state-supported closures of areas to motorised activities and other beneficial restrictions (e.g. seasonal/conditions-based closures)

    • Subsidise waste collection and extend landfill hours to make it easier for the community to do the right thing

    • Educate new residents to motivate good behaviour; show WHY their actions can contribute to positive outcomes

  • Labour shortage crisis: provide education to overcome ignorance

  • Quality agricultural land:

    • protect QAL better through strong planning

    • Elevate its importance through community education and advocacy

    • Increase education of value of farming to regional amenity/landscapes

  • Minimising impacts from horticulture – growers:

    • Promote and adopt more sustainable agricultural practices as part of broader intelligent and active development (improve HOW we do things)

    • Adopt learnings from traditional knowledge on landscape considerations e.g. avoiding interventions such as lifting land and waste re-direction => adverse ripple effects

    • Increase research on sustainable practices to underpin better management

    • Promote increased valuing by producers of soil, water, etc (natural resources) as INPUTS into production (including financial value)

    • Give stronger collective consideration to non-traditional farming (e.g. regenerative/agroforestry/permaculture and nature-based solutions (e.g floating wetlands); That is, pursue sustainable farming in preference to traditional/industrial methods – Supported by necessary research

    • Fresh; “farm to table”

  • Investigate wide adoption of “precision agriculture”/”substrate farming” (e.g. as in the Netherlands)

    • for more efficient use of space (increased yield/ha)

    • especially for berries

    • If we can build capacity and evolve to these practices now we can have the benefits BEFORE we lose all our natural environments

  • Provide expanded collective support to horticulture and forestry industries:

    • Develop labelling and promotion to link good practice and local, green produce to brand benefits (e.g. a broad community campaign including education, farm visits)

    • Change the unfavourable balance between international and national/local preferences
      => Encourage locals to buy local! (support local produce and jobs); It’s ok to pay a little more; appreciate a job well done!

    • Establish markets and mechanisms and work with other industries for better cycling of inputs (e.g. water) and wastes (e.g. plastics)
      => Close the loop!

    • Increase/bring back extension programs, incentives and support by state/NRM groups

    • Investigate local community/cooperative farming mechanisms to overcome resource limitations of individual growers

Northern Pumicestone Passage

  • Knowledge gap: cumulative impacts of Aura and (future) Beerwah East on water quality, habitats and fauna (e.g. birds, dugong, fish)

  • Knowledge gap: Expected breakthrough of northern Bribie Island and impact on northern Passage and foreshores

  • Emerging issue: increasing ecological and lifestyle/amenity impacts from increasing population and on-water recreational use

  • Supplement previous studies on northern Bribie Island breakthrough/s

  • Consolidate assessment of coastal erosion, local breakthrough/s and impacts and COMMUNICATE impacts to broader community

  • Assess emerging impacts from increased on-water recreational activity on Westaways marine NP (e.g. fish, water mouse)

  • On-water recreation: Develop a stronger, collectively supported framework for managing on-water recreation => A place for everyone and everyone in their place!

Southern Pumicestone Passage

  • Knowledge gaps:

    • dugong populations and behaviour

    • cumulative loads of sediment forestry/4WDs including effectiveness of fringing wetlands as buffers

    • (and northern passage) potential displacement/loss of habitats from sea-level rise and increased temperatures

  • Dugong populations: communicate and educate community and visitors to motivate positive behavioural change to protect dugong in the passage

  • Revise management regulations (e.g marine park activities) based on current knowledge

  • Promote values and ecosystem services of the passage and catchment

Bribie Island

  • Climate change and SLR is a potentially catastrophic issue – highest point on the island is 2.5m; ~1m SLR expected by 2100!!

  • Knowledge gaps:

    • value of the island as a buffer for mainland

    • land and water opportunities for renewable energy

  • Observation; generally less issues in forestry areas than on mainland (e.g. less 4WDs, arson, dumping)

  • Promote values of forestry industry to local community to counter angst about harvesting, replanting, etc

  • Investigate the potential merits of a seaweed farm off the southern island

Forestry estate – mainland

  • Key issues: see notes for whole catchment above

  • Illegal dumping: strips adjoining urban areas of Caboolture in the south and Caloundra in the north are the worst affected

  • Consolidate east-west buffers along creeks to link the passage to western hills

  • Promote ongoing HQP sustainability initiatives that protect buffers and water quality

  • Consider targeted waste subsidy measures in urban strips adjoining forestry (e.g. discounted fees, wider operating hours)

  • Beerwah East: compensate for loss of plantation lands!! (e.g. 2:1 land swap)

  • ?? * windfarms in passage

Major urban areas

  • Investigate retrofitting wildlife passage across major north-south transport ways (especially Bruce Highway, northern rail)

  • Facilitate improved wildlife corridor outcomes through proactive planning for major regional developments (e.g. Beerwah East)

Eastern agricultural areas

  • Knowledge gap: direct ecological/toxicity impacts of agricultural pollutants in receiving waters, including the passage

  • Undertake studies of ecological and toxicity impacts from agricultural pollutants in major waterways

Page 1

  • Increasing recreation issues associated with increasing population
    • Support from partners to get state (etc0 support
    • Permit HQP to close areas to motorised activities and other restrictions to activities
    • Losing plantation area to development
    • Asbestos removal: road repairs
  • Education of new residents to motivate WHY good behaviour??
  • Feel like they’re contributing
  • Other issue = litter in forestry – driven by cost of dumps => subsidise collection and longer hours
  • “precision agriculture” e.g. Netherlands => efficient use of space (increase yield/ha) (espe berries; => “substrate” farming)
  • Huge investment upfront: beyond capability of individual growers
  • Labour shortage!! National ~crisis => education to overcome ignorance
  • * GW: collective support to industry – including education
  • Establish markets and mechanism for agricultural waste recycling e.g. plastics (also includes…)
  • * GW: Adopt ~Netherlands practices while we still have environments
  • Next group
  • Closing the loop! Work with other industries e.g. water, waste
  • Increase recognition of good individual growers and incentives and support
  • Increase/bring back state/NRM extension programs
  • Labelling/promotion to link good practice to brand benefits
  • Knowledge gap – GRP – quantify negatives e.g. addressing poor behaviour
  • Good quality agricultural land – how is it measured? How info used/not used => protect better through strong planning

Page 2

  • Actions…
  • => towards regenerative ag! E.g. agroforestry/permaculture! – nature-based solutions e.g. floating wetlands (HOW we farm…)
  • Stronger collective consideration of non-traditional farming
  • => create very strong value for local, green produce – ok to pay a little more; badge
  • Increase research – underpin better management
  • Change international import <=> export system => ”appreciate a job well done”
  • Next group
  • Observation – covid has helped people appreciate better
  • => learn from traditional knowledge <=> landscape considerations e.g. lifting land; water re-direction => ripple effects
  • [=> increase valuing by farmers of soil, water, etc INPUTS into production]
  • Agricultural= vulnerable to climate variation; not a given
  • Increase knowledge – $ of good natural resources
  • Increase education of value of farming to regional amenity/landscapes

Page 3

  • “vertical farming”??
  • Encourage locals to buy local! => local produce and jobs
  • Fresh; “farm to table”
  • Are we growing the right things in the right places?? => WHERE?
  • => intelligent and active development (including agricultural=> HOW?
  • Requires community education and valuing!
  • Community/co-op farms?? => investigate models for SC => overcome resource limitations per
  • => consider merits of seaweed farm off BI
  • Education/farm visits
  • Next group
  • In planning schemes: urban development prioritised above quality agricultural land
  • * if we have another urban expansion into agricultural land, we will lose the INDUSTRY
  • Elevate importance of agricultural land!!
  • Retail pricing set behind scenes/international trade agreements => international produce cheaper than local! 🙁
  • Pursue sustainable farming > industrial
  • Supported by necessary research

CATCHMENT AREA rotation (agriculture group)

Northern Passage

  • More local coastal erosion studies for northern BI – build on previous
  • ?? cumulative impacts of Aura and (future) Beerwah East on water quality and habitats and fauna (e.g. birds, dugong, fish)
  • Consolidate assessment of impacts and COMMUNICATE impacts to broader community
  • Assess emerging impacts on Westaways marine NP (fish, water mouse?)
  • Place for everyone; everyone in their place!

Southern Passage

  • ?? dugong => communicate/educate => motivate positive change; => protect those populations/visitors
  • Sediment loads from forestry/4WDs; ?? cumulative loads; effectiveness of fringing wetlands as buffers
  • ( norther) – ?? displacement of habitats/loss from SLR and increased temperatures
  • ?? * windfarms in passage
  • Revise management regulations based on improved knowledge (e.g MP activities); => promote values!! ! ecosystem services

Bribie Island

  • Less issues in forestry e.g. less 4WDs; arson; => promote values to comm of industry; counter community angst esp wrt harvesting, replanting
  • issue = climate change/SLR – highest pot 2.5m; 1m SLR by 2100 => !!!!
  • ?? value of BI as buffer for mainland
  • ?? land/water opportunities – renewable energy??


  • consolidate buffers E-W; link PP to hills
  • promote sustainability initiatives to protect buffers an WQ
  • ** 4WD; litter; fire
  • strips adjoinig Caboolture (S) and Caloundra (N) = worst => waste disposal facilitities/accessibility <=> subsidies
  • B-East => compensate 5000ha loss e.g. 2:1 land swap
  • Northern/SCC
  • Ensure major developments support linkages b/w surrounding LUs => Bruce Highway!! => investigate retrofitting wildlife passage

Eastern agricultural areas

  • ?? assess actual eco/toxicity impacts of agricultural pollutants by end of cmt