Planning and prioritisation
Plans for managing our parks
- Planning is based on park values, prioritising management efforts towards the most important things – the park’s key values
- Planning identifies the management requirements and effort needed to protect and enhance values
- Planning documents are strategic, setting directions and measurable objectives for managing parks
- Planning documents are streamlined to focus on the most important aspects of managing each park—allowing them to be produced far more efficiently
- Priorities are set for programs, funding and day-to-day park management
What is our planning process?
Good planning is an important part of great park management—it helps us understand where we are now, and to decide where we want to be and how are we going to get there. It is also a core part of the QPWS Adaptive Management Framework or cycle—helping us to set goals, directions and priorities for park management, which can be monitored, evaluated and reported on.
Our planning has a big focus on protecting key park values—the things that are most special about a park and that we don’t want to lose. It helps us understand what and where these values are, and which strategies we can put in place to protect them. Planning at state-wide and park levels also ensures that we are applying the right amount of management effort (people, time and money) in the right places, to get the right results.
The outcomes of planning for each park are documented in an easy-to-read management statement (or management plan), which provides an ongoing guide for park managers and the community.
State level planning
Like most park management agencies, we have many parks to manage but finite resources. We therefore have to decide where our resources are best invested across the State’s park system. Park values are the focus for making these decisions. Values and management standards are assessed, moderated and set across all parks, providing the context and priorities for more detailed planning and management activities.
We use park categories to rank all parks in the state, based on their natural, cultural and presentation values. Park categories inform Levels of Service benchmarking across all parks.
Levels of Service (LoS) benchmarks are used to set the desired management standards across all parks – recognising that all parks deserve great management, but that more effort needs to be directed to parks with higher values. LoS are set for nine management elements, such as fire and pest management, and will guide the amount of time, people and money which is invested in each of these activities.
There are up to five Levels of Service
- Very High
Levels of Service are applied to nine park management elements for each park
- Fire management
- Pest management
- Natural values management
- Traditional Owner engagement and cultural heritage management
- Historic cultural heritage management
- Community and third party interests management
- Visitor management
- Field management capability
- Operational planning and management support
Park level planning
Planning for each park starts with an assessment of the park’s values and the management input or effort required to manage these values effectively. By comparing a park’s current key value condition and management input, to goals set for the desired key value condition and management input, we can set measurable objectives to close the gap between the current and desired state for each park.
We use Values assessments to provide the foundation or point of truth for park management—it tells us what the park’s key values are, what the threats are to these values, and what we need to do to manage these values effectively.
- confirm park values and their significance,
- assess the condition and trend of key values, threatening processes and risks, and
- set strategic management directions to protect and enhance key values.
We use Levels of Service assessments to compare the current level and type of management input, against the optimum level of effort required to effectively manage the park’s values.
Levels of service assessments
- confirm desired levels of service,
- assess the current levels of service, and
- to close the gap between current and desired levels of service.
Throughout these planning processes we work hard to develop strategies which align the desired management effort with priorities for protecting and enhancing key values.
Information gathered from planning and previous reporting data is used to prioritise programs and funding. This information can be analysed to inform state-wide strategic programs, regional level significance programs, and park level significance programs. Other prioritisation considerations include The QPWS Research Prospectus and park management partnerships and sponsorship programs.
Specific on-ground management programs of work are communicated through Action Plans. These are an operational tool to implement park level priorities informed by thematic strategies. Strategic Priority Programs and Action Plans inform business plans, which in turn dictates operational work programs to guide day-to-day management.
Both the planning information and strategic prioritisation inform the business plans that set the work programs for parks each year. Strategic and park level priorities drive park management programs.
Detailed operational work programs include planned burn proposals, pest proposals, or capital works proposals. The completion of operational programs is tracked within systems, such as planned burn completion reports.
What is the next step?
The monitoring process is an important part of the Values Based Park Management Framework. We use monitoring to collect and evaluate relevant, reliable data on the condition and trend of park values.
Monitoring programs will help determine the progress of a park value towards its desired condition, for example good with some concerns to good condition. Monitoring allows us to evaluate and report on our progress toward great park management.
For more information on Planning and prioritisation contact QPWS Planning Services email ParkManagementPlans@npsr.qld.gov.au.