The Port Phillip & Westernport CMA prepares the Regional Catchment Strategy and coordinates and monitors its implementation.
However, the region’s environmental assets are managed by Government organisations, Councils or private landholders. The individual work of these organisations and individuals, and the collaboration between them, are key drivers of the environmental health and resilience in this region.
Some of the important organisations, groups and sectors that are partners in the collective effort to maintain and enhance environmental health are:
Victorian Government departments and authorities
Many of the environmental assets in this region are on public land. The responsibility for ongoing management of these environmental assets rests with some Victorian Government departments, agencies and delegated land managers.
Key Victorian Government organisations include:
- Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority
- Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
- Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources
- Melbourne Water
- Parks Victoria
- Environment Protection Authority
- Central Coastal Board
- Growth Areas Authority
- Victorian Coastal Council
- Urban and rural water authorities.
A number of these organisations are actively engaged in this strategy and tangibly supporting it in the following ways:
- Targets – developing and agreeing on the SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound) targets for the future condition of the environmental assets.
- Leadership – agreeing to take lead roles in the efforts to achieve the targets
- Statements of Commitment – publishing a ‘statement of commitment’ that outlines the leadership they will provide
- Membership of the new alliance – joining a new Alliance of key organisations that will share knowledge, develop partnerships, coordinate action, monitor progress and identify any changes that may be needed for the strategy
Action – planning and undertaking significant action contributing to the achievement of the targets
Monitoring and reporting – undertake monitoring of environmental condition and contributing to public reporting on condition and progress
Councils in the region
Many environmental assets in this region are under the stewardship of the 38 local councils within the region.
A number of councils are displaying exceptional leadership that benefits the environment and their communities by actively engaging in this regional-scale strategy and tangibly supporting it in the following ways:
- Targets – developing and agreeing on the SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound) targets for the future condition of the environmental assets
- Leadership – agreeing to take lead roles in the efforts to achieve the targets
- Statements of commitment – publishing a ‘statement of commitment’ that outlines the leadership they will provide
- Membership of the new alliance – joining a new alliance of key organisations that will share knowledge, develop partnerships, coordinate action, monitor progress and identify any changes that may be needed for the strategy
- Action – planning and undertaking significant action contributing to the achievement of the targets
- Monitoring and reporting – undertake monitoring of environmental condition and contributing to public reporting on condition and progress
Some of the councils are also active supporters of landscape-scale collaborative projects such as Yarra4Life, Living Links and Grow West and projects coordinated by Landcare networks and groups that are contributing to the achievement of the targets in this strategy.
Landcare and community groups
There are hundreds of Landcare groups, ‘friends of’ groups and other community-based environmental groups that are active across this region. They bring landholders and community members together to undertake coordinated local action planning and on-ground works programs, as well as building community knowledge, skills and networks.
While bringing significant benefits to local areas and communities, collectively these groups also make substantial contributions to the achievement of this strategy’s environmental targets. Their work includes activities such as native vegetation management, revegetation, water quality improvement, native animal care, land and soil management, coastal rehabilitation and community education.
Increasingly, the community groups are networking with each other and initiating or participating in forums with Councils and Victorian Government organisations to improve integration, coordination and collaboration at the local level.
Australian Government departments
Australian Government departments outline national priorities for environmental management and provide programs such as the National Landcare Program that funds and supports relevant local projects.
The priorities outlined in this Regional Catchment Strategy are generally consistent with the national priorities so the Australian Government programs are likely to make significant contributions to the achievement of this strategy’s targets.
The climate change information in this strategy has been developed through the ‘NRM planning for climate change’ project funded by the Australian Government.
The privately-owned and managed land of this region contains important environmental assets including significant proportions of the region’s native vegetation, native animals, waterways, wetlands and rural open space.
The many thousands of landholders each have responsibilities regarding land and water management on their properties and ensuring there is no adverse impact on others.
Collectively, the actions of these landholders will make a very important contribution to the achievement of the long-term targets for environmental condition here.
There are many non-government organisations active in the environmental sector in the Port Phillip and Western Port region including:
- Conservation Volunteers Australia
- Victorian National Parks Association
- Environment Victoria
- Australian Conservation Foundation
- Greening Australia
- Western Port Biosphere
- Seagrass Partnership
- Committees of management
- Indigenous organisations.
These organisations play a variety of roles including lobbying regarding environmental policy, community education, volunteer mobilisation, research, partnership generation, fund raising and on-ground works. Collectively, they make a significant contribution towards the achievement of the targets in this strategy.
The agricultural sector
The agricultural sector includes farmers who collectively manage some 45 percent of the region’s land and who are important stewards for some of the region’s environmental assets.
Industry bodies such as the Victorian Farmers Federation, Agricultural Industry Associations and Agribusiness Forums are important representatives of the large farming population and are important partners in collaborative efforts to manage environmental assets and maintain environmental health whilst simultaneously supporting ongoing agricultural production that is vital for the region.
The education sector
Primary, secondary and tertiary education institutions are increasingly important partners in efforts to achieve environmental targets. Nowadays, the education sector is an important contributor to community education, environmental planning and on-ground projects. Its influence reaches well beyond the participating students and into families, communities, businesses and the political sector.
Research through organisations such as CSIRO and the Cooperative Research Centres Program also regularly brings together universities, government agencies, industry bodies and others for collaborative projects and knowledge-sharing.
The citizens of this region, and visitors to it, undertake individual actions every day that collectively have a significant influence on the health and resilience of the environment.
Therefore, their contributions to environmental health literally begins at home and they can be important partners in the efforts to achieve environmental targets by minimising waste, using environmentally-friendly products, increasing recycling and becoming active in local efforts to enhance native flora and fauna.
Increasingly, this strategy will also provide an opportunity for citizens to be active monitors of environmental condition and collectors of data. It is envisaged that this strategy will evolve and enable citizens to input information and data on, for example, native vegetation extent and quality, native animal sightings and water quality in waterways, wetlands and marine environments.