Queensland's Citizen Science Hub

Government resources

QASSMAC was a multilateral advisory committee animated by the soil scientists within the Department of Natural Resources. It set out to improve the management of these naturally occurring high risk soils. The State Planning Policy was identified as one of the main regulatory tools available. An early document was QASSMAC Acid Sulfate Soils Management Strategy for Queensland, April 1999.

State Planning Policy 2/02 Planning and Managing Development Involving Acid Sulfate Soils, November 2002.

SPP 2/02 Guideline: Planning and Managing Development Involving Acid Sulfate Soils, August 2002.

SPP 2/02 Checklist Form for Acid Sulfate Soils, June 2004. This was a precursor to Resource Planning Guideline E74: Checklist for Lodging Applications: Acid Sulphate Soils, March 2005.

General Information Required to Assist Assessment of Development Proposals
Involving Acid Sulfate Soils, June 2004. This was a precursor to Resource Planning Guideline E11, Referral Information Generally Required on Acid Sulphate Soil Matters, May 2005.


(Editorial footnote: Australian English uses the ph spelling for “sulphur” and its derivatives,  but the scientific community has standardised on “sulfur”, so the scientists won over the policy officers when a new State Planning Policy on the prevention of damage from disturbing potential acid sulphate soils was formulated).

Town planning legislation in the early 1990s (the Local Government (Planning and Environment) Act 1990) provided that the State Government could promulgate “statements of planning policy” which local governments as the local planning authorities would be obliged to incorporate into their planning schemes and development decisions. The first such instrument (which by s.1A.2 had the status of subordinate legislation) was the Protection of Good Quality Agricultural Land. This page revives a number of documents dating from 1992 on the subject.

State Planning Policy 1/92 Development and the Conservation of Agricultural Land. The policy was later supplemented by Planning Guidelines: The Identification of Good Quality Agricultural Land, January 1993 and Planning Guidelines: Separating Agricultural and Residential Land Uses, August 1997.

Land Planning Guideline E62 The Protection of Good Quality Agricultural Land, April 1998 – An internal procedural paper that was distributed to departmental staff but not brought to finality (evidence is the incomplete pagination).

Protecting Queensland’s strategic cropping land: A policy framework, August 2010.

Guidelines for Agricultural Land Evaluation in Queensland, December 2015.

State Planning Policy July 2017, the consolidated policy of that period.

See also the dedicated page on coal seam gas and agricultural land.

The historical programs of ACRIS and NLWRA have been mentioned on the website of The Royal Society of Queensland. In this post we will provide links to a present-day program.

Around 2018 CSIRO and its program collaborators launched an interactive map and other tools to provide real time condition and trend data (monthly reporting) – including fractional differentiation of cover into photosynthesising vegetation (PV), non-photosynthesising vegetation (NPV) and bare soil with rangelands firmly in focus. Amazingly, it all launches on an iPhone4s proving that the Data61 hosting addresses access and operability issues of sophisticated systems that are often stymied by many factors (including people refusing to get new technology every couple of years to keep up with ‘security’ etc).

This rangelands-focussed toolkit was funded out of the Australian National Landcare program.

The GEOGLAM RaPP platform keys into user needs at the local level (500m resolution); scalable for global monitoring purposes, providing spatial and other data outputs.

1. Program


2. Interactive tool here showing spatial extent of fractional cover (monthly) , rainfall (monthly) and a suite of other factors or attributes.


3. Explanatory document Monitoring groundcover: an online tool for Australian regions https://publications.csiro.au/publications/publication/PIcsiro:EP187950  or access the document via the QSN database.


The Australian Terrestrial Biodiversity Assessment 2002 combined the knowledge of State and Territory agencies on biodiversity and its management. It assessed the trend and condition of wetlands, riparian areas, threatened species, threatened ecosystems, birds, mammals and key values associated with eucalypts and acacias across Australia. The report identified threatening processes and conservation issues at a regional scale and made suggestions for improved biodiversity management.

The Australian Terrestrial Biodiversity Assessment 2002 has been captured by the National Library’s web archiving service of Trove: https://webarchive.nla.gov.au/awa/20110602044946/http://www.anra.gov.au/topics//vegetation/pubs/biodiversity/bio_assess_contents.html.

Home page www.nlwra.gov.gov.au Published by National Land and Water Biodiversity Audit. ISBN: 0 0642 3713137 7. Senior Authors / Editors Paul Sattler and Colin Creighton.

The ATBA was driven by two Queensland scientists, Paul Sattler and Colin Creighton. It was a program of the pioneering National Land and Water Resources Audit. The Audit ran from 1997 to 2008, but suffered an untimely end, chronicled in an article by David Marlow in volume 124 of the Proceedings of The Royal Society of Queensland.

Paul Sattler OAM, member of The Royal Society of Queensland, has written for QSN:

The Australian Terrestrial Biodiversity Assessment was published in 2002 by the Natural Land and Water Resources Audit and represented the final report into the condition of a range of natural resources nation- wide. The total Audit’s worth was in excess of $52 million including all partnerships, a not insignificant investment at the time. It is considered that the biodiversity assessment enjoyed at least $2 million of in-kind support from the states and territories in addition to the $1 million in cash provided by the federal government. The enthusiasm for a nation-wide biodiversity assessment was noteworthy.

Unfortunately, the opportunity for continuation of a program to assess and monitor the on-going condition and trend of Australia’s natural resources was not supported.

The framework to carry out a nation-wide biodiversity assessment within a constrained 12 month timeframe was the newly completed biogeographical classification of Australia by Gethin Morgan and others. The delineation of bioregions with their component sub-regions provided a practical scale to assess the condition and trend of biodiversity and the relative significance of threatening processes. This assessment also included technical contributions by CSIRO and state researchers into evaluating various taxa as examples of how biodiversity values could be further considered. The assessment relied upon the extensive information held by state and territory governments, with much data based on observational records.

Fourteen case studies on how biodiversity planning might be approached at a regional scale were presented. These case studies were stratified across dissimilar bioregions and subregions. Overall, the Audit’s assessment provided a valuable input for natural resource management bodies and local governments to consider in regional planning.

The nation-wide information collected by the Audit’s biodiversity assessment was used extensively in the preparation of the statutory Australian State of Environment reports over two reporting periods.

The Executive Summary (page V) identifies the range of biodiversity elements assessed. In hindsight, the significance of climate change did not receive the attention that it now demands.

The original Audit’s assessment report on terrestrial biodiversity is available through Trove’s web archiving service (see above).  The Royal Society of Queensland is endeavouring to obtain a PDF. In the meantime, the online  version allows easy access and affords an opportunity for longitudinal assessment of biodiversity trends at the landscape scale.

The summary report was supported by an Atlas which was linked to easily access biodiversity information on each bioregion and sub-region across Australia. The original Atlas data base is currently lost!

Paul Sattler OAM Co-author

On 30 December 2021, the Minister for Resources, The Hon. Scott Stewart, released the latest SLATS report. This report marks the first release in a new era of SLATS reporting in Queensland, with the program having revised and enhanced its methods and technologies. The media statement can be read here: https://statements.qld.gov.au/statements/94205

The fully-online reports, which include the 2018 woody extent baseline report and the first change report using the new monitoring methods, the 2018-19 report, can be found here:https://www.qld.gov.au/environment/land/management/mapping/statewide-monitoring/slats/slats-reports

More information about SLATS, its revised and enhanced methods, and where to access SLATS spatial data and data summaries, can be accessed by navigating to the relevant locations from the SLATS parent page: https://www.qld.gov.au/environment/land/management/mapping/statewide-monitoring/slats

The Queensland Herbarium’s Spatial BioCondition mapping framework which was also part of the program enhancements aimed to deliver mapping outcomes in 2022. More information can be found here: https://www.qld.gov.au/environment/plants-animals/biodiversity/biocondition

Vegetation mapping – State coverage complete (superseded by the above section)

On 30 May 2017 then Science Minister Leanne Enoch announced completion of the mapping of Queensland’s vegetation types – “Version 10.0 of the Regional Ecosystems mapping” – after a scientific initiative extending over 28 years. Natural resource mapping is an input to the planning of a wide range of public sector, business and civil society projects. The value of information of this kind ripples through the economy in many more ways than simply supporting conservation planning.

Congratulations are due to a number of public-spirited scientists from a range of disciplines for investing their time and skills in this project; and to successive Queensland Governments for allowing them the budgets and intellectual space to fulfil this mission. Royal Society of Queensland Member and Past President Paul Sattler OAM has written of the origin of the regional ecosystem program in his memoirs, published on the Society’s website. Paul as a prime mover of the project was invited to deliver an address at the launch following Ministers Leanne Enoch and Dr Steven Miles – published here.

The Minister also released Queensland’s Regional Ecosystems: Building and maintaining a biodiversity inventory, planning framework and information system for Queensland. https://publications.qld.gov.au/dataset/redd/resource/42657ca4-848f-4d0e-91ab-1b475faa1e7d  which documents the history and development of the regional ecosystem biodiversity inventory, planning framework and information system for Queensland.

Also released was Version 3 of the Vegetation of Queensland https://publications.qld.gov.au/dataset/redd/resource/78209e74-c7f2-4589-90c1-c33188359086 and version 4 of the Methodology https://publications.qld.gov.au/dataset/redd/resource/6dee78ab-c12c-4692-9842-b7257c2511e4.

A full media explanation is on http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2017/5/30/qld-ecosystems-mapped-and-online-in-worldleading-science-achievement.

This benchmark publication by the SEQ Regional Strategy Group under the chairmanship of Michael Petter, initiated by Mary-Jane Weld and coordinated by Michelle Evans is divided into three parts.

Part A contains information on strategic direction and provides a context for the guide.

Part B contains information about the four core, and two supporting themes under which specific resources are organised for management purposes. The core themes are biodiversity, water, land, and coasts and seas. The two supporting themes are understanding and involvement, and integrated planning and coordinated management.

Part C, which is closely related to Part B, contains information about the major catchments in the region.

Front cover + Pages 1-18 (13.8 MB)

Pages 19-76 (25.1 MB)

Pages 77-124 (19.8 MB)

Pages 125-160 (16.9 MB)

Rear cover (1.0 MB)

The Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy or its current equivalent maintains records of the stock routes. The maps are publicly available. QSN has obtained a set of the 2004 maps, published for each local government area (local governments at the time having boundaries different from the present). The wrapping around the CD of the maps explains their status. Any researcher who requires these earlier maps and can’t obtain them from the Department is invited to contact QSN.

2013 mapping

Approximately 72 000 kilometres (2.6 million hectares) of Queensland’s road network is declared as stock route. Online portal: https://www.qld.gov.au/environment/land/stock-routes

Maps were published 02-10-2013.  Click on  https://qldglobe.information.qld.gov.au/ Once on the main map, choose [Layers] > [Add layers] > search “Stock route” …. tick the box, them zoom in.


In Queensland, planning of rural properties took root in the early 1990s, fostered in the Department of Primary Industries. Even for a small property, the issues that are considered are complex and extend beyond strategic determination of the best land-use for each paddock to detailed prescriptions for ongoing maintenance. The leaflet: Planning Your Property: How to Get Started in Grazing Lands is an early attempt to encourage property holders to document the attributes of their holding and their intentions for future management (34MB). See also Queensland Property Management Planning Implementation Strategy 1994 (9.1MB).

The Australian Greenhouse Calculator helps explore how a person’s lifestyle contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. We all enjoy the benefits of modern technology such as heating and lighting, but we can take actions to reduce production of greenhouse gases and help combat climate change.

Use the AGC to explore how to live more sustainably. By changing behaviour and selecting energy-efficient options, people can reduce greenhouse gas emissions in ways that do not compromise comfort and quality of life.

The calculator website includes “Teacher ideas” linked to the Australian curriculum.

We thank Alan Pears AM, primary developer of the calculator’s algorithm, for drawing this to QSN’s attention.


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