30 August 2017
The Port Phillip and Western Port Regional Catchment Strategy (RCS) has evolved significantly since it was formally approved by the Victorian Government in October 2014.
With an interactive website designed to be reviewed and updated in response to change, the strategy has been modified in 2016-17 with the addition of significant new information and priorities regarding climate change.
Four new organisations officially signed on as RCS partners in 2016-17 – Bass Coast Landcare Network, Boorondara City Council, Wathaurung Aboriginal Cooperation and Wyndham City Council. This brings the number of RCS partners to 32 organisations. These organisations have each contributed targets and commitments to the strategy.
The PPWCMA’s engagement with environmental managers in the region aims to make working together more rewarding than working alone. Engagement with partner organisations in 2016-17 included:
- Detailed advice for 15 organisations to assist in the development of their own environmental strategies
- Publication of partners’ RCS implementation stories on the RCS website
- Meetings with all RCS partners to discuss their progress towards their targets
- Meetings with potential RCS partners on the benefits of getting involved
- A second Knowledge Banquet, which provided an ‘all-you-can-learn’ feast of learning and networking for 190 attendees from partner and associated organisations; Two Knowledge Cafés about building environmental partnerships with Indigenous organisations; and
- A day-long floating conference on Port Phillip Bay to induct new councillors and staff to coastal and marine policy and planning issues. This activity was conducted as a partnership with the Association of Bayside Municipalities.
Review and improvement
In 2016-17, the PPWCMA Board and staff also evaluated the progress, strengths and weaknesses in RCS implementation. The result was an internal plan of the PPWCMA’s work to advance the RCS over the next five years. The plan focuses on six areas:
- Expand and reward the alliance of RCS partners
- Make the links between state and federal goals, regional goals and partner targets clearer
- Add a prospectus of priority projects for RCS implementation;
- Advance catchment condition reporting
- Improve the RCS website
- Continue to raise the state-wide status of regional catchment strategies.
The PPWCMA also developed more improvements to the RCS. The next set of proposed changes will:
- Complete the Wadawurrung ‘Welcome to Country’ statement; the final of three welcomes by our region’s Aboriginal Elders. The statement describes Wadawurrung’s aspirations for environmental management and a brief account of their past and present as custodians of country
- Update the list of Australian and Victorian Government strategies and plans, especially those with goals connected to RCS partners’ work
- Update the strategy’s account of ‘regional economy’
- Add new partner targets and statements of commitment from Maroondah City Council and Boroondara City Council
- Update the text and interactive map for Kingston City Council, Cardinia Shire and Frankston City Council and for Trust for Nature
- Change the ‘planning’ and ‘potential’ status of nature link projects for the Mornington Peninsula, Werribee River and Maribyrnong Valley to ‘underway’.
The proposed changes were approved by the Board in June 2017 for submission to the Minister for Water.
In 2017-18 and future years, work will focus on:
- Maintaining the RCS website’s currency, relevance and practical application, with particular attention to the links between the RCS and state and federal government;
- Establishing a prospectus of priority action projects;
- Maintaining partner commitments and expanding the alliance of new partners, especially among Landcare networks and non-government organisations; and
- Monitoring and reporting on the implementation of the strategy and progress towards its targets.