The application period for NatureAssist round 4 has now closed.
As a landholder you can play a vital role in protecting conservation values and Queensland’s biodiversity by establishing a nature refuge on your property. NatureAssist can help you do this.
- What is NatureAssist?
- Who is eligible?
- What on-ground activities can be funded?
- What are the benefits?
- How much can I apply for?
- How does it work?
- What happens next?
- For more information
What is NatureAssist?
NatureAssist is an incentives scheme that gives Queensland landholders financial assistance to protect and manage the conservation values on their land. Using a competitive tender process, NatureAssist invites tenders from landholders to undertake on-ground management activities that will deliver conservation benefits.
Tenders are assessed by an expert panel based on the conservation values of your property and your proposed management activities. Successful tenders are those that offer the best conservation outcome for the least overall cost. Payment of tenders is conditional on a nature refuge agreement being signed by the landholder and the Queensland Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection or their delegate.
'”We wanted to safeguard the biodiversity of your property forever, and thought that the legislation would do this You always feel you'll live forever, but history has shown quite conclusively that this is not so! The financial incentives for "doing the right thing" have enabled us to do a lot in a drought when finances would not otherwise allow. Money is, after all, a definite consideration in life! I'm sure that we would have organised the nature refuge anyway, but, quite truthfully, the assistance came at the right time for us to hasten our decision.”
Who is eligible?
If you are willing to establish a nature refuge over all or a portion of your property that has significant conservation value, or would like to extend an existing nature refuge, then you are eligible to apply for NatureAssist.
NatureAssist is available to:
- freehold land owners
- lessees of land owned by the State
- Government corporations that are separate legal entities from the Queensland Government (e.g. Forestry Plantations Queensland)
- local governments
- private companies
- nature conservancies.
Note: NatureAssist is not available to landholders where a nature refuge is a conditioned requirement of a government-funded acquisition or licence.
What on-ground activities can be funded?
For activities to be considered for funding, they must contribute to on-ground protection and management of areas of high conservation value. Successful tenders are those that offer the best conservation outcome for the least overall cost, so you need to make your tender as competitive as possible.
The types of activities favoured for funding include:
- reducing the impacts of stock and pest animals on environmentally sensitive areas such as vine thickets, watercourses and wetlands by managing access. Examples of activities funded in previous rounds include: establishing artificial watering points away from natural springs or watercourses, erecting fencing to manage stock access, and excluding and controlling pest animals
- revegetating areas to stabilise soils, improve water quality or increase the value of wildlife habitat
- integrated management of pest plants, pest animals and fire.
Funding is not available for activities that:
- have been previously funded by NatureAssist or other programs
- have already been undertaken
- are part of day-to-day maintenance
- are required under legislation.
What are the benefits?
How much can I apply for?
There is no minimum or maximum amount of funding that can be applied for. It depends on which on-ground activities are required to deliver conservation benefits on your potential nature refuge. Big or small, the department is seeking the best value conservation outcomes, so it’s important to make your tender competitive.
How does it work?
NatureAssist is a competitive process used to identify which tenders offer the best value for money in protecting and managing conservation values. This process starts with a simple phone call or email.
Participation in NatureAssist is initiated by EHP based on an assessment of a property’s conservation values. If your property is identified as having conservation values of interest to EHP, you may be contacted by a nature refuge officer but it will be entirely up to you whether you would like to participate. Just let the officer know and they will register your interest so we can work with you further.
A nature refuge officer will visit your property to confirm conservation values and suitability for a nature refuge and NatureAssist funding. This is also a great opportunity to discuss ideas for on-ground conservation activities, get information on the nature refuge agreement and answer any queries you may have. This visit is confidential and obligation-free.
Once information has been collected from the property visit, the department will advise you in writing of the suitability of the proposed area and activities. Successful applicants will be invited to submit a tender.
A nature refuge officer will assist you with initial development of the non-financial elements of your tender and negotiate a draft nature refuge agreement for submission by the due date.
Each tender submitted is assessed by an expert panel against all other tenders in that round. This assessment takes into account:
- the conservation values of your property (biodiversity and environmental features)
- the threats to those values
- the quality of the proposed management
- the area of the potential nature refuge
- the cost of your tender.
A ‘fast-tracked’ process may be used for lower cost tenders. Successful tenders are those that offer the best conservation outcome for the least overall cost.
What happens next?
Every person who submits a tender will be advised of the outcome. If your tender is successful, a nature refuge officer will work with you to finalise your new or upgraded nature refuge agreement. Once the nature refuge agreement is signed by you (and any other titleholders) and the Minister for EHP, the funds will be paid to you in a lump sum or instalments, depending on the amount of your tender.
While your property and management could make a great nature refuge, the first priority will be to offer funding to properties that provide the highest conservation values for the least overall cost in that round.
For more information
- Option 1: Email email@example.com
- Option 2: Phone 13 QGOV (13 74 68).
NatureAssist is a statewide program coordinated by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection and is supported by the following organisations: