TRaCK: Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge

Science and knowledge that governments, communities, industries for sustainable use of Australia's tropical rivers and estuaries

Resident perceptions of the relative importance of socio-cultural, biodiversity, and commercial values in Australia’s Tropical Rivers

TitleResident perceptions of the relative importance of socio-cultural, biodiversity, and commercial values in Australia’s Tropical Rivers
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsStoeckl, N, Neil, B, Welters, R, Larson, S.
Date Published03/2012
InstitutionJames Cook University
CityTownsville
Abstract
This report describes research that was commissioned by the Northern Australia Water Futures Assessment (NAWFA) Cultural and Social program. The NAWFA Cultural and Social program has funded a number of research projects to help fill some of the critical information gaps about Social and Cultural values associated with Australia’s Northern Rivers.
 
The TRaCK NAWFA Social and Cultural project was comprised of three research activities that were carried out by CSIRO, Charles Darwin University (CDU), James Cook University (JCU) and Griffith University (GU) as part of the Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge (TRaCK) program. The three activities ran in parallel from March 2011 for a period of 12 months, and were:
  • Sub-project 1 – Social and cultural values in the planning cycle (CSIRO and CDU);
  • Sub-project 2 – Relative values of water for trade-offs (JCU); and
  • Sub-project 3 – Developing management models for Indigenous water strategies (GU).
 
This report relates to Sub-project 2 – Relative values of water for trade-offs.
 
The overarching aim of this project was to improve our understanding of the Social and Cultural values associated with Australia’s Tropical Rivers. Its specific objectives were to improve our understanding of:
  1. the relative values of water for different stakeholder groups;
  2. the rate at which different stakeholder groups are willing to trade-off economic development for those values;
  3. the extent to which stream flow and/or water quality could change before there was a ‘significant’ impact on Social and Cultural values; and hence
  4. the likely response of stakeholders to the consequences of upstream development scenarios and to potential changes in the downstream uses of water.
 
The project was undertaken within a limited timeframe. Although data collection processes ensured that a reasonable cross-section of views were obtained, these views are not considered to be representative of the views of all residents of Northern Australia. Furthermore, although researchers have been able to conduct a relatively detailed analysis of much of the data and produce useful results, there is scope for further, more sophisticated analysis that may generate further insights. As such, this work should be viewed as generating ‘preliminary’ findings.