The Natural Resource Investment Program (NRIP) was a state-wide program focusing on the priorities of land, water, people, and communities, as well as science and knowledge. The program operated under the NRM framework that prioritises the enhancement and protection of Queensland’s natural resource assets. The program was funded and supported by the Queensland Government’s Department of Resources and delivered across four components: natural resource projects, reef water quality projects, Paddock to Reef (P2R), Regional Coordination and Evaluation. There was also one TraNsfoRM! Innovation project that has been delivered under NRIP. These NRIP project have been implemented primarily by the 12 regional Natural Resource Management (NRM) bodies that cover Queensland, including the Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA).
EcoFutures and Alluvium completed a comprehensive evaluation of Queensland’s Natural Resource Investment Program (NRIP) for Natural Resources Management Regions Queensland (NRMRQ) to identify achievements to date and opportunities to adapt the NRIP program and projects for future funding models. This project included the collation of literature and interviews with all the 12 regional NRM bodies across Queensland to determine the success of NRIP and develop a business case to continue the success of NRIP and investment opportunities beyond 2022. The analysis also included the development of geospatial state-wide mapping that identified known values and threats under current climate and future climate across the state and synthesised most recent knowledge into the mapping framework and evaluation.
The evaluation determined that regional NRM bodies have a demonstrated track record building skills and capacity in regional communities, they provide local knowledge and most importantly the regional relationships required to enable government investment to be targeted and achieve the best return on investment. They have leveraged the State government investment by attracting additional investment from the Federal Government and the private and philanthropic sectors. Furthermore, NRIP activities delivered by the regional NRM bodies strongly align with the Queensland Government Objectives for the community and priority areas defined in the Queensland Government’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan.
The evaluation has led to further work with NRMRQ, including the development of a business case for federal funding and an online workshop with 70 representatives from the 12 regional NRM bodies to discuss the next steps to build on the outcomes of NRIP in future funding programs.