SEQ waterways' health and resilience receive major boost

Published: 11th December 2023

Lockyer Valley Mayor Tanya Milligan, Leanne Linard and Toowoomba Mayor Geoff McDonald take a selfie

Lockyer Valley Mayor Tanya Milligan, Hon Leanne Linard and Toowoomba Mayor Geoff McDonald

The future health and resilience of South East Queensland catchments has received a major boost with the Queensland Government and Council of Mayors (SEQ) releasing the Resilient Rivers Initiative: SEQ Waterways and Wetlands Investment Strategy.

The Strategy provides a blueprint for the growth and expansion of the successful Resilient Rivers Initiative.

It will guide future investment, prioritisation and collaborative delivery of $40 million over the next five years including revegetation, weed management and fish passage projects to improve waterway and wetland conditions.

On top of its environmental benefits, the Strategy will also support new opportunities for capacity building within the environmental services sector, creation of local jobs in rural communities, and strengthened First Nations engagement in the management of the region’s catchments.

It was officially launched on 1 December at the Resilient Rivers Taskforce Meeting at Brisbane City Hall by Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Leanne Linard and Mayors of South East Queensland.

The Resilient Rivers Initiative was established in December 2014 to improve South East Queensland river and catchment health through collaborative leadership in catchment management involving state and local government agencies, water utilities, regional partners and the community.

Since the initiative’s launch, more than $8.3 million of local government investment has been delivered on-ground via projects to mitigate risks for local waterways.

COMSEQ with Leanne Linard getting their photo taken

Hon Leanne Linard with COMSEQ at the launch of the strategy

Recognising the success and potential of Resilient Rivers, the SEQ City Deal has committed $40 million over the next five years to ensure it continues its work to improve the health of the region’s waterways in partnership with landholders, First Nations peoples, non-government organisations, public utilities and the private sector.

It has since been included as an initiative in the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Brisbane 2032 Legacy Strategy – Elevate 2042.

Council of Mayors (SEQ) Chair and Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said South East Queensland's waterways and wetlands play an important part in the lifestyle South East Queenslanders love about where they live.

"But, they are under increasing pressure from population growth and the impacts of natural disasters," he said.

“This Strategy will drive collaboration providing a framework for all levels of government, utilities, industry, investors and communities to work together to improve the health of the waterways we all share.

“It will help to deliver improvements to waterway health, enhanced flood resilience and work with local communities, landowners and First Nations people to improve land, waterway and wetland management outcomes across our region."

Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef Leanne Linard said water sustains all life, but in South East Queensland it also defines our lifestyle and economy.

Lockyer Valley Region Mayor Tanya Milligan with Hon Leanne Linard

Lockyer Valley Region Mayor Tanya Milligan with the Hon Leanne Linard

"Our waterways and wetlands maintain our environment and flora and fauna, generates electricity, supports a diverse range of recreational activities and, in a very real way, powers our economy," she said.

“The Resilient Rivers Initiative: SEQ Waterways and Wetlands Investment Strategy is a commitment to the sustainability of South East Queensland’s waterways by all levels of government, headlined by the $40 million investment through the SEQ City Deal.

“Supporting investments by the Council of Mayors (SEQ), Queensland Government and the Australian Government, the strategy provides a comprehensive plan to improve the health of our catchments and waterways by increasing native vegetation, fortifying erosion control and enhancing bank stability all the way from our hinterlands out to Moreton Bay.

“The strategy will also unite government and multiple stakeholders together to improve south-east Queensland’s water security, lifestyle, and disaster mitigation and I thank everyone involved for its development.”