What is the Natural Environment Policy about?

Council is committed to conserve, protect, enhance and restore the health of the City’s natural environment values. The Natural Environment Policy will direct council in doing this.

Protecting the natural environment is an important goal for the community and for Council. A healthy natural environment is fundamental to the well being of the community. It also contributes to the transition to a Sustainable City.

How was community involved?

Community consultation on the Natural Environment Policy was held from August to September 2020. 183 responses were received on the natural environment of Ipswich: what you like, what could be improved and your vision for the future. In March 2021, we checked-in with community to ensure the policy was still on track. 51 responses were received during the second round of consultation.

Your feedback assisted in the development of the Natural Environment Policy and the seven focus areas. The policy was approved by Council in September 2021.

Read about the policy focus areas

What's next?

After adopting the policy, focus now shifts to the development of the Natural Environment Strategy. Over the coming months, council will work with the community and stakeholders on this strategy update.

A policy sets out Council’s overarching position, viewpoints or values on matters that impact or are a concern to the community.

It is a high-level document that Councillors and Council staff must abide by when making decisions and setting priorities for the city.

The Natural Environment Policy will set Council’s position and direction for the natural environment. It will also set the direction for other key strategic documents related to the environment. These documents will be reviewed to align with the new Natural Environment Policy.

It’s important because the policy and related procedures and strategies set priorities for how council manages its resources, creates and delivers programs, and spends its budget.

The natural environment is a collective term to describe the diverse network of land and water areas in a comparatively natural state that provide habitat for native animals and plants. It includes values such as:

  • Habitat and populations of threatened species;
  • Core habitat areas as home for a diverse range of wildlife;
  • Nodes of remnant vegetation in urban areas providing wildlife refuge;
  • Strategic remnants vegetation patches as stepping stones for wildlife movement;
  • Corridors providing connectivity for wildlife across the landscape;
  • Increase vegetation condition and animal abundance within core habitat areas;
  • Biological diversity, natural capital and ecosystem services;
  • Waterways, wetlands, riparian and aquatic ecosystems and floodplains;
  • Cultural Landscape Features;
  • Scenic amenity.

Ipswich has one of the most diverse ranges of natural vegetation types in South East Queensland, being home to a large number of native flora and fauna and over 2,000 recorded species of native plants and animals.

As well as biological values, the natural environment also enhances land values, attracts tourists, provides recreational opportunities, improves community health, increases economic development and enables continued cultural and spiritual connection by the Traditional Owner community.

Council has a solid background of protecting, managing and enhancing the natural environment through mechanisms such as Ipswich Enviroplan and Ipswich Planning Scheme. Through these initiatives, more than 23 per cent of the city is being managed with environmental outcomes in mind.

This Natural Environment Policy will build on decades of work to protect and improve our important environmental assets.