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Results from the 4WD Workshop

Updated: Jul 27, 2023

On Saturday 8th July BIEPA held a workshop to come up with an action plan for protecting nature of Bribie Island's eastern beach from 4WD traffic and other threats. We were fortunate to have expert help from Queensland Conservation Council in running the workshop, and collected a lot of ideas from which we distilled one initial goal to get things moving.

people around tables working together
Workshop participants doing a bit of lateral thinking

The participants

The workshop was attended by a selection of BIEPA members, including seasoned campaigners who've worked on the issue over years and some newer faces, all of who were committed to constructive contributions and actively progressing any actions we came up with.

We are very grateful to facilitators Jen Acklin (QCC's Organising Coordinator) and Kim Chatterjee (specialist in behavioural change) who were super-organised and very effective at getting us to focus on achievable goals.

All participants shared their hopes for the workshop and ways in which they could help.

Review of history

Our first step was to review the valuable efforts of members to date, and Kim efficiently summarised the salient facts on a set of cards. This distilled years of research, government decisions, and interested parties into an easily digestible smörgåsbord of factoids. Participants were familiar with the details, as extensive material was distributed in the lead-up.


brief information cards laid out on a table
A digestible smörgåsbord of factoids distilled from years of past work by members on the issue of 4WDs on Bribie Island National Park's Coral Sea beach.

Brainstorming goals

Our next step was to think about our long, medium, and short term goals. This is where we spent quite a bit of time brainstorming, and will be doing more at the next workshop, especially around short term goals.

The position of some participants coming into the workshop was that our overriding goal is to stop all 4WD traffic on the beach. But what about ecotourism operators, who raise awareness of the nature of the beach, and know how to minimise their impact? And what about the feral animals that impact the nature of the beach, but don't drive a 4WD?

We all agreed that our ultimate long-term goal should be to see:

Nature flourishing on Bribie Island National Park's Coral Sea beach.

This insight opened the way for a lot more ideas on how we can protect nature. Things we can do without being blocked by the massive challenge of restricting traffic, even though we all agree that this eventually has to be part of the solution.

Another goal that would be a major step towards our ultimate goal would be to see authorities:

Implement an effective, nature-positive management plan for Bribie Island's Coral Sea beach.

This goal is only achieved by negotiation, lobbying and influence. While ultimately the Management Plan is a State Government/QPWS responsibility, BIEPA will play a role by harnessing broad community support for better outcomes for nature, and then use that support to advocate for change, and to lobby and influence decision makers. We captured a bunch of other goals and ideas on sticky notes, which have been transferred to a Trello board so project members can all see and update them from wherever we are. We will only work on goals that are aligned with BIEPA's mission, but we'll encourage and support other community groups who are already working on issues such as beach driving safety and impact on local residents.

Trello helps teams to track work on projects from anywhere

Picking an initial goal

Then the facilitators encouraged us to focus on one short-term goal: one achievable thing we can do that would show we are able to make progress, and thereby gain credibility and community support. Once we reach that goal we can move on to the next and build more community support, until this thing becomes an unstoppable tsunami!

The initial goal selected from those proposed was (rephrased here after subsequent thinking):

Implement a Turtle Education and Monitoring Support Program that helps maximise the number of turtle hatchlings safely reaching the ocean.

You may have noted that this goal doesn't say anything about 4WDs – instead it's focussed on protecting Bribie Island's Critically Endangered Loggerhead Turtles, which are impacted directly by beach driving.

Through active outreach, the education component of this program will increase turtle awareness amongst all users of the Coral Sea beach; emphasise the need for a more turtle-friendly beach; and highlight the ways beach users can reduce (or preferably eliminate) their impact on turtles during nesting season.

The monitoring support component will provide Bribie Island's Accredited Turtle Monitors with logistical assistance in the vital work they do across the turtle nesting season–identifying, monitoring and managing nests, and ensuring that, despite the presence of 4WD vehicles, as many hatchlings as possible make it safely across the beach from nest to ocean.

It's important to emphasise that while turtle protection is a critical priority, the 4WD issue can't ride solely on the turtle's back. There are many other threats to the beach that need goals fine-tuned and strategies acted on if we want to see better outcomes.

Finding allies, and knowing the hurdles

The workshop discussed the need to find and engage with other stakeholder groups and individuals who may have an interest in this initial goal:

  • Constituents — people with similar views who are likely to act and support the overall goal

  • Allies — aligned individuals, groups and organisations with whom we can partner to help achieve the overall goal

  • Blockers — people who might obstruct us in reaching any of our goals

Want to know more?

The beach driving issue touches on every aspect of BIEPA's core business. This short wrap-up of the 4WD Workshop is intended to do no more than provide a snapshot of our plan for the direction of the project from here. If you wish to know more detail about any aspect, you should join the 4WD Project.

How you can help

Any BIEPA member is welcome to join the 4WD Project and participate in future workshops. The only requirements are that you donate your time to making progress between meetings, and work collaboratively as part of a team. The project currently has many more ideas that it has resources, so we need active team players who can help turn those ideas into reality. Maybe that's you?

While the components of this project might fall under the varied remits of BIEPA's Mission Teams, the umbrella 4WD project is owned by our Ecotourism & Sustainable Development Team. If you are not able to join the project but feel you have a contribution to make, please respect the role of the team and the project coordinator by contacting them at traffic@biepa.online.

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