Sustainable development

Natural resources are everywhere – in our bush, along our rivers, on our farms and in our cities and towns. In essence, natural resources are our land, soil, water and waterways, plants, animals, minerals and air.

Natural Resource Management

Natural Resource Management (NRM) is about managing our natural resources to ensure environmental, social and economic sustainability for both present and future generations in accordance with the principles of Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD).

NRM is important because our community expects it (link to CSP); a healthy environment means a healthy community; natural areas are important for recreation and tourism; it’s good for the economy by ensuring productive soil and waterways for farming our communities; and it can be a legal requirement.

In NSW, NRM is implemented by a range of stakeholders including all spheres of government, including Federal ( and State (, Local Land Services (, Landcare ( or Bushcare networks, landholders and the general community. By their very nature, natural resources must be managed in a coordinated way, across jurisdictions, to achieve long term outcomes.

Local Government is playing an increasingly important role and has a range of functions, powers and responsibilities at its disposal to influence natural resource management on both private and public land. This includes both statutory and non statutory responsibilities. 

Council responsibility in relation to NRM is defined in the Charter of the Local Government Act 1993. The Charter requires all councils to properly manage, develop, protect, restore, enhance and conserve the environment of the area for which it is responsible, in a manner that is consistent with and promotes the principles of Ecologically Sustainable Development. Further, councils must also have regard to the long term and cumulative effects of its decisions. 

Council NRM activities may include strategic planning; development control; enforcement powers; administrative responsibilities; stormwater management and control; risk control measures (e.g. weeds, feral animals); incentive programs; management of open space; supporting community groups, and environmental education.

Dubbo Regional Council reports on the condition of its natural environment through the State of Environment Report.


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Ecologically Sustainable Development

NRM provides a range of benefits that contribute to achieving the goals of ESD and ensuring that the four key principles of Ecologically Sustainable Development are met. The principles include:

  • Valuing Biodiversity - Which means decision makers and the community in general place an appropriate value on the variety of plants and animals in an area
  • Precautionary principle - Which requires decision makers and the community to err on the side of caution when assessing the potential environmental impact of any development
  • Intergenerational equity - Which requires decision makers and the community to consider the needs of future generations in relation to maintaining their quality of life
  • User pays - Which requires decision makers and the community to make sure the users of particular resources pay an appropriate price for those resource.


Last Edited: 02 Dec 2016

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