Queensland helping to lead the way in measuring the state of the environment

Issued: 12 Sep 2023

  • Queensland Government funding will help provide better tools for landholders and organisations to measure the condition of the environment.
  • $770,000 is being provided to Accounting for Nature Limited (Accounting for Nature) to ensure Queensland remains at the forefront of environmental accounting in Australia.
  • Key stakeholders to benefit from this support include Queensland’s landholders, Natural Resource Management bodies and Traditional Owners.

Queenslanders stand to have a better understanding of the real state of the environment with the Queensland Government’s support for Accounting for Nature’s environmental accounting framework.

Environmental accounting allows land managers to measure and track the condition of their environmental assets (such as vegetation, water and soil) in response to their land management.

This framework, underpinned by best practice independent science, gives land managers valuable information to support decisions on how to manage their land and lays the foundation to participate in natural capital markets.

Accounting for Nature (AfN), an independent, not-for-profit Australian-based environmental accounting organisation with offices in Brisbane and Sydney, is receiving $770,000 from the Queensland Government to support its environmental accounting work.

This includes:

  • AfN’s work with the state’s Natural Resource Management (NRM) bodies to build their capacity through training to measure and track the environmental condition of their regions
  • Development and rollout of a digital platform to make building environmental accounts easier, and
  • The engagement of Traditional Owners to explore the role of cultural connection to Country in environmental accounting practices.

NRMs are a major focus of the funding, which aims to build their capacity and understanding of environmental accounting to develop regional-scale environmental accounts.

This will assist NRMs to gain a benchmark understanding of the condition of the environment across their regions, to assist better decision-making for land management practices and guide future investment.

As well as assisting NRM groups with measuring the state and trend of the environmental condition of their regions, regional environmental accounts provide a valuable opportunity to inform Queensland’s annual State of Environment reporting.

It will lay the foundation for moving Queensland towards better statewide coverage of environmental accounts.

The Queensland Government’s support for further development of the online environmental accounting platform will enable better efficiencies of regional-scale accounts and make regional environmental accounting more cost-effective.

The funding will also support the engagement of Traditional Owners to understand better the role of cultural connection in the Accounting for Nature® Framework to support the health of Country.

AfN is currently finalising a trial of the Cultural Condition Framework with the Gudarjil and Butchulla Traditional Owner groups in the Burnett Mary region, with some 10 elders and 10 staff (including Indigenous rangers) involved in the testing process.

Learnings from the trial will help create a templated standard to guide Traditional Owners on how to report the condition and cultural significance of Country and incorporate traditional ecological knowledge into the AfN overarching environmental accounting framework.

AfN has had many enquiries about the availability of a Cultural Condition Framework and the funding provided will assist AfN to progress its work on this to a point where the framework can be provided to environmental bodies.

Quotes attributable to Gillian Mayne, Director, Natural Capital Program, Queensland Department of Environment and Science:

“The Department of Environment and Science is pleased to provide this funding to Accounting for Nature.

We recognise the importance of building capacity in environmental accounting practices to measure and monitor outcomes in the state of nature.

“These practices will help put Queensland in a valuable position to prepare for emerging biodiversity market opportunities.

“More accurate data on the state of our environment brings many benefits, including support for future decisions on where to allocate funds and resources to environmental projects and needs.

A national and standardised environmental accounting framework will provide this greater accuracy.

“Particularly pleasing is that the funding will support Accounting for Nature in fully developing a Cultural Condition Framework.

“Australia’s Traditional Owners have provided superb stewardship of the environment over tens of thousands of years and continue to do so.

“The Cultural Condition Framework, when available, will assist them immeasurably in their assessment of the environment over which they have custodianship.”

Quotes attributable to Dr Adrian Ward, CEO, Accounting for Nature:

“Accounting for Nature provides an environmental accounting framework to better inform investment, policy and management decisions in natural capital, including carbon co-benefits, green bonds, environmental offsets and impact investments.

“We are always seeking to improve our tools and services, but in ways that meet a defined need within the environmental sector.

“Our ethos is to ‘make nature count’, so while the tools and services we can provide assist the environmental sector directly, the outcomes that flow from enhanced environmental data provide much wider benefit.

“Policymakers dealing with decisions and future considerations about infrastructure planning, for example, can find accurate environmental data to guide those decisions, from housing developments to road and social infrastructure, to renewable energy infrastructure.

“The Queensland Government recognises the importance of building capacity in environmental accounting practices to measure and monitor outcomes in the state of nature.

“Such practices will help put Queensland in a valuable position to prepare for emerging biodiversity market opportunities.

“We thank the Queensland Government for its funding.”

View more information on Accounting for Nature.