1381.0 - Research Paper: A Review of Regional Development Australia Committee Regional Plans, 2013  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 12/03/2013  First Issue
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Image: Conservation word cloud

Preserving and improving the natural environment, biodiversity and the sustainable use of natural resources were significant issues for 38 RDA committees. A common challenge was the need to protect the natural environment from potential damage caused by urban growth. The difficulty of balancing the provision of housing for a growing population with the preservation of biodiversity, native vegetation and wildlife was commonly reported. Several regions also described the conflict between protecting the natural environment and extracting maximum economic revenues from recreation, tourism and industry.

The environmental impact of inappropriate land use was reported as being an issue in some regions. Many inappropriate land uses were identified, such as unsustainable farming and grazing, land clearing and residential and industrial development. The reported impacts of these activities included the degradation of natural resources, vegetation and biodiversity and salinity issues. Some committees noted that the lack of a land use management plan or legislation to prevent inappropriate development was a significant threat to the natural environment and resources. A lack of a broader regional sustainability plan, as well as limited resources for the protection of environmental assets, were also reported by several committees.

Other conservation issues raised by the RDA committees included the need to manage limited resources such as water and energy in a sustainable way, establish sustainable agricultural practices to ensure food security, develop new techniques to enhance biodiversity, protect endangered species, improve landscape connectivity - or ‘bio-links’ - between natural habitats and reduce the threat of feral animals and introduced weeds (see, for example, RDA Adelaide Metropolitan Inc., 2012, p. 33).