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Catchment-scale governance in Northern Australia: a preliminary evaluation


Dale, AP and Pressey, B and Adams, VM and Alvarez- Romero, JG and Digby, M, Catchment-scale governance in Northern Australia: a preliminary evaluation, Journal of Social and Economic Policy, 16, (1) Article 2. ISSN 0973-3426 (2014) [Refereed Article]


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Northern Australia covers vast and diverse landscapes comprising largely public and Indigenous tenures. Long-term Aboriginal and pastoral management, isolation and a challenging terrain and climate have shaped a landscape of national, if not international, conservation value. Northern Australia, however, also has a fragile economy, and there is tension amongst Indigenous, economic and conservation interests. Managed poorly, emerging conflicts could damage the real opportunities that each presents, resulting in major land and natural resource-use conflicts or unsustainable development. As healthy governance systems are the key to effective natural resource management (NRM), this paper presents a preliminary exploration of the health of NRM governance across Northern Australia, with a focus on the catchment scale. We analysed three focal catchments; the Fitzroy in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, the Daly in the top end of the Northern Territory and the Gilbert in north-western Queensland. We find that the governance of each catchment has different strengths and weaknesses depending on history and context. Common challenges, however, include shifting national and state/territory policy frameworks, fragmented funding of science and limited consensus building via spatial decision support. From this analysis, we explore potential reforms in catchment governance across this increasingly contested landscape.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Northern Australia, governance systems, regional development, catchment management
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Natural resource management
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Fresh, ground and surface water systems and management
Objective Field:Measurement and assessment of freshwater quality (incl. physical and chemical conditions of water)
UTAS Author:Adams, VM (Dr Vanessa Adams)
ID Code:127151
Year Published:2014
Deposited By:Geography and Spatial Science
Deposited On:2018-07-13
Last Modified:2018-09-20
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