Planning and prioritisation
Plans for managing our parks
The Values-Based Management Framework (VBMF) is an adaptive management cycle that incorporates planning, prioritising, doing, monitoring, evaluating, and reporting into all areas of our business. This enables the agency to be more flexible and proactive and improve management effectiveness over time. We want to keep our parks, forests, and reserves healthy by:
- managing and protecting the things that matter most—our key values
- strategically directing management effort towards priorities
- delivering our custodial obligations as a land manager
- setting a level of service for all parks, forests, and reserves
- building systems that support decision making for adaptive management
- building support for what we do through accountability and transparency
- striving for improvement through structured learning and doing.
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 we are going to get there. It is also a core part of the VBMF—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 do not 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 must decide where our resources are best invested across the State’s park system. Key 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 social 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 themes, 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 five Levels of Service:
- Very High
Levels of Service are applied to nine park management themes for each park:
- First Nations partnerships and cultural heritage management
- Fire management
- Pest management
- Natural values management
- Post-contact cultural heritage management
- Visitor management
- Community, partnerships, and other interests
- Field management capability
- Operational planning and 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.
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.
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 the park management system.
What is the next step?
The monitoring process is an important part of the VBMF. 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 concern 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 via email ParkManagementPlans@des.qld.gov.au.