2022 CQ Big Data Forum
Held at Frenchville Sports Club in Rockhampton on the 11 and 12 May, the CQ Big Data Forum bought together over 100 scientists, industry, First Nations’ and government representatives to explore and discuss how natural assets in the region are monitored and reported, and how best to improve asset monitoring, reporting and management to protect our region. Held in person and online, the forum fostered genuine enthusiasm and collaboration, and reinforced an important foundation for our collective future.
Session one on day one started with social-cultural perspectives, and then explored a select range of programs that monitor, model and report on elements of central Queensland’s six natural assets. Presenters outlined key challenges, lessons, outcomes and opportunities.
Josh Weazel - Community and Climate
Josh is a Woorabinda lad who grew up in community, married and is now raising a family of five children. Josh identifies as a Wakka Wakka, Pitta Pitta man, who respectively understands and values his position and lineage with historical connections to Woorabinda.
Josh’s working career has involved working as a paramedic, local government executive roles and is the current elected Mayor of Woorabinda Shire. He has also worked in education, a number of government departments, and non-government arenas both within and outside Woorabinda.
With a keenness to foster opportunities and lead community with purpose, vision, and actions that improve prospects and standards of community life, Josh shared his unique perspective on central Queensland’s history and future. Through Josh’s presentation, he provided the opportunity to reflect on and learn more about the critical interconnections between past, present and future. Importantly, Josh taps into our collective conscience and the possibilities available to us through genuine collaboration.
Joe Craggs - Community and Climate
Joe has lived and worked in central Queensland for 20 years. With a background in sales and marketing, Joe worked in the energy, banking and retail sectors in the UK before joining (and then running) Mediator; a sales promotion agency in London.
Having immigrated to central Queensland in 2002, Joe has built a strong reputation across the region in tourism and events, construction, and agriculture industries and working with multiple stakeholders both locally and nationally. Joe is a passionate supporter of central Queensland and a real advocate for the region, embracing all it has to offer as an incredible place to live, work and play.
Joe spoke about some of the key global and regional drivers for sustainability, and the balance we all play in a world that is
spinning towards an increasingly uncertain future.
Jo Kurpershoek - CQSS2030
With over 15 year’s experience working with public, private and not-for-profit organisations in community engagement and capacity building, Jo Kurperhoek is Fitzroy Basin Association’s Regional Engagement Coordinator. In her role, she initiates and facilitates collective action across the Fitzroy region – enabling more to be achieved with limited resources.
After exploring the arts and most of Australia’s east coast, Jo elected to turn her childhood passion for ‘doing better by our planet and people’ into a career path. She holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Parks, Recreation and Heritage and a Graduate Certificate in Brain-based Education which gives her unique insights into how best to facilitate change to overcome
wicked problems. With her team, Jo has coordinated and delivered the fourth revision of central Queensland’s Natural Resource Management Plan – the CQSS2030. The result has involved an in-depth analysis of global, national, state and local perspectives and priorities, and significant community consultation despite a global pandemic.
In her presentation, Jo shares key insights into the process and outcomes of the newly updated CQSS2030, including how the
regional targets were developed.
Don Neale - Air quality monitoring and reporting
Don Neale is Science Leader of the Air Quality Monitoring team in the Queensland Department of Environment and Science (DES). His position includes managing the Department’s ambient air quality monitoring program throughout Queensland. With a Doctorate in chemistry from the University of Queensland Don has worked in the air quality field since 1990. Don brings considerable experience in air quality management and a strong background in air quality measurement and interpretation.
In Don’s presentation, you’ll hear about DES’s ambient air quality monitoring network, and planned expansion program. Don will also explain what air quality data is collected by DES, where this data can be found, how it relates to National Pollutant Inventory industry air emissions data and how these data sources relate to the targets set for Air under the Central Queensland Sustainability Strategy.
Craig Thornton - Soil research, monitoring and reporting
Craig Thornton is a Senior Scientist with the Department of Environment and Science (DES), and the project leader for the long-term Brigalow Catchment Study. Passionate about understanding the effects of land clearing and landuse change on the natural resources of the Brigalow Belt bioregion, his 20+ years of knowledge and experience guides agricultural best management practice towards long-term sustainability (including 25 publications he has authored, found at www.brigalowcatchmentstudy.com.
Craig presented a snapshot of what his work and research have revealed about soil fertility in the Fitzroy region, how it relates to larger scale monitoring and reporting programs (including the paddock to Reef Integrated Monitoring, Modelling and Reporting Program), and what this means for the future of our soils and other assets.
Tim Ryan - Land-based ecosystem mapping, monitoring and reporting
Tim Ryan leads the Queensland State Government’s Ecosystem Survey and Mapping Unit based at the Queensland Herbarium in Brisbane and the Australian Tropical Herbarium in Cairns. With over 26 years of ecosystem survey and mapping experience gained in public and private sectors, Tim brings extensive knowledge of Queensland’s land-based ecosystems. Tim’s team is responsible for producing Queensland’s foundational ecosystem related datasets that are used by a wide range of planning and regulatory frameworks at all levels of government. Datasets include state-wide remnant and pre-clearing regional ecosystems (RE) mapping, Queensland Wetlands Mapping, Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems (GDE) mapping and High Value Regrowth (HVR) mapping.
Tim presented these foundational ecosystem map products and explained their supporting information sources, including how they relate to the Paddock to Reef Monitoring and Reporting Program. Tim also touched on other land-based ecosystem products such as Biodiversity Planning Assessments, Spatial BioCondition Mapping and the recently released SLATS woody vegetation data.
Leigh Stitz - Freshwater monitoring and reporting
Dr Leigh Stitz has been in the role of Executive Officer for Fitzroy Partnership for River Health (FPRH) since 2019. Leigh loves
the opportunity her role provides to engage with a range of different stakeholders. Building relationships with the community,
industry, research, and all levels of government allows her to see the ‘big picture’ and to facilitate conversations between people with similar interests, resulting in better outcomes for water management.
Leigh has published eight scientific journal publications, written many industry reports, and presented at national and international conferences.
Having called the CQ region home since 2007, Leigh has specialised in understanding the aquatic ecology of the Fitzroy Basin, with a focus on using biological indicators to measure stream health. Leigh will provide a rapid and fun overview of how the Fitzroy Partnership for River Health collects, collates and reports on the state of freshwater ecosystems in the Fitzroy Basin, including insights into some of the key lessons they have learned along the way.
Steve Flook - Groundwater modelling, monitoring and reporting
David Orr - Coastal and Marine ecosystem related water quality monitoring and reporting
David Orr is a water quality scientist with the Water Quality and Investigations team in the Department of Environment and Science (DES). He leads the operational implementation of one of the longest running and largest (spatially) water quality monitoring programs in the world. His team monitor water quality as part of the Paddock to Reef Program, which evaluates progress towards Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan (WQIP) targets.
David’s presentation covers the Paddock to Reef Program framework, how monitoring and modelling helps evaluate progress towards WQIP targets, and what data has been collected across the Fitzroy basin. Focusing on locally relevant sediment, nutrient and pesticide monitoring and modelling results, David will explain how those results relate to the goals, targets and
strategies outlined in the Central Queensland Sustainability Strategy 2030 (CQSS2030).
David also outlines where to find publicly available reporting products and where to source Queensland water quality monitoring and modelling data.
In session two on day two, participants were challenged to think, build and collaborate beyond what exists. Working in cross-industry, sector, and cultural groups, participants worked collectively on ‘who, what, when, how much, and why’ to inform future monitoring and reporting for central Queensland. A copy of the forum session outcomes can be downloaded here.