The third Ladies of the Land networking event was, at last, a face-to-face function at the Burdekin Theatre. Pictured are (from left) Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin, professional photographer Fiona Lake, Isabel Stubbs from the Burdekin Zonta Club, CORES Queensland Coordinator Ross Romeo, Women in Sugar’s Amy Smail and NQ Dry Tropics Senior Grazing Field Officer Adrienne Hall.

Making important personal connections

LDC was a proud partner of the ‘Taking Time to Connect’ event that was held at the Burdekin Theatre, Ayr in October.

This event brought women together to connect and hear about the importance of connecting with others in regional Queensland. It was hosted by Queensland Mental Health Week (Queensland Alliance for Mental Health, Queensland Mental Health Commission) and:

  • Burdekin Shire Council
  • Zonta Club Burdekin
  • Queensland Rural Regional & Remote Women’s Network (QRRRWN)
  • NQ Dry Tropics’ Landholders Driving Change project.

Keynote speaker was Cores Queensland Coordinator Ross Romeo, who spoke about the importance of taking the time to connect with others and how to overcome barriers to connecting with others, especially during tough times.

The ‘Taking Time to Connect’ panel discussed how having meaningful social connections could impact positively on women’s mental health and wellbeing. The panel included:

  • GP Registrar Dr Amanda Marano,
  • Women In Sugar, Burdekin member Amy Smail,
  • Specialised domestic and family violence social worker Mary Pearson, and
  • Groves and Clark Solicitors partner Rebecca Fabbro.

MC for the day was ABC North Queensland Chief of Staff Paula Tapiolas.

Two events

LDC has held two women’s networking events this year, as well as being a partner for the ‘Taking Time to Connect’ event.

The aim of the events was to develop an ongoing platform for rural women in the Bowen and Collinsville areas to address relevant topics of interests and issues, education and training.

LDC is committed to bringing women together to discuss the diverse and complex experiences and challenges that they face in the regions, as well as to acknowledge women whose hard work, on and off the farm, significantly contributes to the development and success of their communities. 

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Figure 1. Total fine sediment reduction by project type and erosion source. Inset shows the proportion of the total project area for each project type.

These estimates have been calculated using two methods: 

1) The pollutant reduction component of the Alluvium/Great Barrier Reef Foundation (GBRF) investment tool for hillslope and streambank erosion management projects; 

2) The Reef Trust Gully Toolbox method for gully erosion management projects. The LDC Water Quality Report 2020 (Waterhouse et al., 2020) highlights that a number of assumptions underlay these calculations, therefore these figures should be treated as the best available estimate of sediment reductions to date.

Preventing sediment from reaching the Great Barrier Reef

Each wet season sediment is washed into local waterways and out to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). 

Most sediment is very fine, and can stay suspended for a long time and can travel great distances. Valuable topsoil is lost from production, and increased concentrations on the reef can be harmful to seagrasses and corals. 

Landholders in the BBB have completed 69 on-ground water quality practice changes, and it is estimated that these have contributed a fine sediment reduction of 6,154 tonnes per year from reaching the GBR. 

Of this, approximately half of the sediment savings are attributable to grazing land management changes on hillslopes and streambanks, and the other half as a result of gully remediation treatments across a broad range of scales, as shown in the graphs above. 

The table below also highlights the relatively small area of intervention in the gully management projects compared to the large sediment savings that these can achieve - 60 per cent of the sediment savings over only 4 per cent of the project area.

Table 1. Estimated sediment reductions (tonnes) from projects completed in the LDC Project to date.

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*GLMWW = Grazing Land Management Wire and Water

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*The Exploring New Incentives activity area has provided an opportunity for graziers to adopt improved land management practices through a range of activities. For some of these properties, it was the first time they signed contracts for on-ground works.

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The LDC project monitors four gully sites (represented in this table) with gold standard equipment and analysis, carried out by CSIRO.

Results have been compiled in a preliminary report from Bartley et al (2020), with the final report expected to be released by the end of 2020. The preliminary report shows all four sites have indicators of improvements, notably the Strathbogie and Mt Wickham sites.

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Reef regulations - grazing, standard conditions

  1. For land in good or fair condition (more than 50 per cent ground cover at 30 September), continue using measures to maintain land condition.
  2. For land in poor condition (less than 50 per cent ground cover at 30 September), steps must be taken to improve land condition.
  3. For land in degraded condition (less than 20 per cent ground cover at 30 September), steps must be taken to improve land condition OR prevent areas from further degrading or expanding.
  4. Keep records of measures taken and also of agricultural chemicals, fertiliser and mill mud or mill ash applied to land.
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