Green & Blue by ’32 – restoring catchments & rivers in SEQ for the 2032 Olympics

Can we turn our catchments and cities green, and make our waterways blue by 2032, and if so, how?

This is the question being asked by the Griffith-led event ‘Green and Blue by ’32 – Scaling efforts in SEQ to restore our catchments and rivers, in time for the 2032 Olympics and Paralympics’ on the 19th October at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, the second in a series of events from the Green & Blue by ’32 initiative.

With the Olympic and Paralympic Games coming to Brisbane in 2032, there is a once in a lifetime opportunity that this global sporting event can deliver to the South East Queensland (SEQ) region worth utilising.

Green and Blue by ’32” brings together Griffith University, Australian Rivers Institute, International WaterCentre, Queensland Water Modelling Network, River Basin Management Society, the Moreton Bay Foundation, Stormwater Queensland, Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, Stormwater Australia, the Green Infrastructure Research Labs/Cities Research Institute, Flood Community of Practice and Engineers Australia, with the goal of using the Olympics as an impetus to restore the diverse habitats of SEQ and improve the environment, waterways and overall liveability of the region.

“Our first event in October will concentrate the energy of the Green and Blue by ’32 partners to build a set of visions and pathways for accelerating and scaling up work to restore catchments and waterways across SEQ,” said Professor Stuart Bunn, a key speaker at the event from the Australian Rivers Institute.

“Informed by science, economics and practice and guided by Indigenous understanding and values, the goal is to accelerate and scale up momentum to restore the diverse landscapes of SEQ and protect the environmental, social, cultural and economic values that attract people to the region.”

The key questions that will be addressed during the event include: what a Green and Blue by ’32 future will look like for SEQ; why it matters; what needs to be done to get there from science, Indigenous, economic, finance and delivery perspectives; and how do we do it at the scale and speed necessary?

“The true value of this event is the diversity of researchers, practitioners, Indigenous peoples and operators contributing to the dialogue and learning about how effective restoration might be brought about more rapidly and at scale across SEQ,” said Associate Professor Brian McIntosh, event organiser with the International WaterCentre.

“The event will help shape thinking, catalyse learning, and foster new connections and collaborations that build momentum towards a green and blue legacy for SEQ after the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

The fully catered and interactive whole day event overlooking the Brisbane River will include talks from leading research, Indigenous and practice speakers drawn from Universities, Indigenous groups, consulting firms, and implementation agencies.

The event will evaluate restoration and Green & Blue by ’32 means from various perspectives:

  • Landscapes past and future – Indigenous perspectives on restoration (Madonna Thomson, Jagera Daran and Beverley Hand, Mimburi Upper Mary Aboriginal Association Inc.)
  • Reflections on the history of SEQ catchment restoration science and action and our pathway ahead (Professor Stuart Bunn, Australian Rivers Institute, Griffith University, Dr Paul Maxwell, EcoFutures Consulting and Alluvium Group)
  • From a geomorphology and hydrology perspective (Dr Michael Cheetham, Water Technology, Associate Professor Andrew Brooks, School of Environment and Science, Griffith University)
  • From a terrestrial ecology perspective (Professor Sam Capon, Australian Rivers Institute, Griffith University and Moreton Bay Foundation)
  • From a wetlands and aquatic ecology perspective (Dr Alice Twomey, School of the Environment, University of Queensland)
  • From a shellfish and coastal ecology perspective (Robbie Porter, Shellfish Revolution, OzFish)
  • From a community engagement perspective (Dr Angela Dean, School of Agriculture and Food Science, University of Queensland)
  • From an environmental planning perspective (Georgina Pratten and Stephen OrrLandscape Architects/Planner, LatStudios)
  • From an economic perspective (Associate Professor Jim Smart, Australian Rivers Institute, Griffith University)
  • How we can create a lasting GBx32 legacy for SEQ from the Olympics and Paralympics (panel discussion – Cameron Jackson, Urban Utilities; Kim Markwell, E2Designlab; Madonna Thomson, Jagera Daran; Cath Thrupp, CarbonPlanet)

Workshop sessions will further weave together perspectives for restoration of SEQ in three geographic parts – north (Sunshine Coast and inland), central (Brisbane and Ipswich corridor) and south (Gold Coast and inland) and will include discussion on action and implementation; the who, how, when and where of restoring the region.

“The Green and Blue by ’32 event series aims to bring sectors together, to identify, align and plan a common vision for South East Queensland,” Associate Professor McIntosh said.

“Imagine people swimming in our rivers, cool, tree lined cities and diverse, flourishing ecosystems and communities. I can’t think of a better legacy to leave for South East Queensland, but it will take all of us working together to achieve it in time for the Olympic Games.”