Our Natural Ipswich – connected, protected and resilient landscapes

Protecting the natural environment is an important goal for the community and council. After all, a healthy natural environment is fundamental to our well being and will help Ipswich to be a Sustainable City.

In September 2021, the Natural Environment Policy was adopted. It sets the platform to develop the strategic priorities for council through a Natural Environment Strategy.

Consultation with key internal and external stakeholders was undertaken in 2022 and the feedback was used to help develop the Strategy.

In December 2022, Council endorsed the Natural Environment Strategy which provides the foundation needed to protect our natural environment into the future.

Establishing the natural environment themes and priority objectives of the Strategy

Six key strategic themes, covering a range of natural environment values, were identified in the early stages of the strategy development.

These themes are based on the feedback received from community during the Natural Environment Policy, iFuture and Sustainability Strategy consultations and changed as we progressed through the development of the strategy to align with the feedback received.

Priority objectives for each theme have been identified in the Strategy and the approach to be taken to achieve the objectives.

  • Waterways and wetland health improvement

    Improving the health and resilience of Ipswich's waterways and wetlands by focusing on reducing sediment loads and improving riparian vegetation condition.

    Priority objective 1: Reduce sediment entering our waterways and wetlands

    Priority objective 2: Increase extent and condition of vegetation cover around waterways.

  • Biodiversity and threatened species recovery

    Protecting and connecting natural habitat areas to improve the health and resilience of Ipswich’s biodiversity.

    Priority objective 1: Increased protection and restoration of natural habitat areas across Ipswich

    Priority objective 2: Increase in ecological corridor land protected and restored across Ipswich

  • Aboriginal cultural heritage

    Recognising and embedding the important relationship between the natural environment and the Traditional Owners of Ipswich.

    Priority objective 1: Improved recognition of Aboriginal cultural heritage and cultural landscape values across Ipswich’s natural areas

    Priority objective 2: Increased use of Aboriginal ecological knowledge in the management of Ipswich’s natural environment

  • Urban biodiversity enhancement

    Creating a connected and functional urban biodiversity network to support local plants and animals.

    Priority objective 1: Increased native canopy in urban areas

    Priority objective 2: Increase the extent and condition of protected urban habitat corridors

  • Rural biodiversity enhancement

    Connecting vegetation, water and soil to improve the productivity and biodiversity of our rural lands.

    Priority objective 1: Restoration and protection of rural ecological corridors

    Priority objective 2: Restoration and protection of functional floodplains on rural land

  • Sustainable nature-based recreation

    Creating and encouraging opportunities for the community to sustainably connect with nature.

    Priority objective 1: Increase in sustainable nature-based recreation opportunities across Ipswich

    Priority objective 2: Increased community participation in nature-based activities

The story

In 2021, Council developed the Natural Environment Policy with your input. The policy strengthens council’s commitment to conserve, protect, enhance and restore the natural environment and its values, through seven focus areas and associated principles.

Council has now developed a Natural Environment Strategy to support this policy. The new strategy captures where we are, where we are going and how we will better protect our natural environment.

The strategy has been developed using:

  • your feedback
  • the city's key environmental stakeholders feedback
  • legislative requirements
  • best practice science and environmental management approaches

From your previous feedback and initial research, a range of natural environmental values across the region have been identified which fall under the below priorities.

  • Waterways and wetland health improvement
  • Biodiversity and threatened species recovery
  • Aboriginal cultural heritage and cultural landscape values recognition
  • Urban biodiversity enhancement
  • Rural biodiversity enhancement
  • Sustainable nature-based recreation

Key objectives, strategic targets and best approaches have then been identified for each priority. These will help guide future programs and plans to protect and enhance our natural environment.

Coordination and integrated delivery will be vital to council's strategic direction. The strategy identifies high priority areas, their common focus and outcomes and strategic locations.

Aligned with this integrated strategic framework, a suite of natural environment projects and programs will be developed and updated annually for planning and budget consideration.

Council’s natural environment strategic framework outlines where we are going, how we will get there and how we will know when we get there.

Council wants to work towards conserving a connected natural environment. The development of this strategy is a catalyst project under the Natural and Sustainable theme of iFuture, council's corporate plan.

The Engagement

The engagement for the Strategy was undertaken in two parts.

1. Discovery phase (April - May 2022): to define the strategy purpose and objectives

142 participants provided feedback via:

  • an online survey
  • community panel workshop
  • stakeholder workshop
  • marking their most valued natural areas on a map

2. Development phase (September - October 2022): to develop the strategy document.

16 participants provided feedback via:

  • an online survey
  • written response

Read the full engagement report for further details.