Politics of Biosphere management
THE eternal political question of “Who’s in charge here?” appeared to be the main concern in recent council discussion of the Great Sandy Biosphere, which will include Gympie city and the eastern part of its region.
The internationally recognised biosphere concept offers communities the chance to be seen worldwide as innovative and responsible in their industrial and residential development, as well as promoting conservation areas within their boundaries.
Councillors expressed concerns about the possible loss of democratic authority when the issue was discussed at its Works and Services Committee meeting.
The biosphere, which is well on the way to being formalised, will run from Noosa and its biosphere north to Maryborough, Hervey Bay and Burrum Heads, including the Cooloola National Park, Fraser Island and the Great Sandy Strait.
Burnett Mary Regional Group CEO David Brown told Gympie Regional councillors they didn’t need to fear increased outside interference in the management of the area after finalisation of the biosphere plan.
“There are no restrictions involved, it’s all voluntary,” he said, adding that the internationally recognised designation might mean local bodies may have more influence, rather than less.
In a formal presentation to the meeting, Mr Brown described biosphere reserves as “sites of excellence to explore and demonstrate approaches to conservation and sustainable development on a regional scale.”
“They are non-regulatory and include extensive agricultural land, tourism and other industries as well as conservation areas,” he said.
Half Australia’s bird species were in the area proposed, he said.