This Regional Catchment Strategy builds on previous editions published in 1997 and 2004.
Much was learned from writing and implementing previous editions. Review of past strategies and understanding our region has led to:
- The creation of this strategy as a website
- Its focus on ‘SMART’, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound, targets as a basis for sound planning, monitoring and reporting
- The PPWCMA’s intent that every target needs a willing partner with agreed roles in leading its achievement and measuring success.
The development of this strategy has been undertaken over approximately three years and has involved the following steps.
2009: Reviewing the 2004-09 RCS
This Regional Catchment Strategy builds on previous editions published in 1997 and 2004. In particular, the review of the 2004-09 Regional Catchment Strategy (RCS2) was a major influence on this current strategy’s content, aims and web-based medium.
The review identified several positive results from RCS2 implementation:
- The PPWCMA’s efforts to lead RCS2 implementation built productive partnerships
- The work to report on RCS2 progress and success advanced our understanding of how to build monitoring, evaluation and reporting needs into project designs
- Some of the strategy’s goals were achieved or at least advanced but data was inadequate to know for sure.
The review also identified several areas for improvement:
- RCS2 targets and actions guided whole-region organisations but they were much less useful to the region’s more numerous local councils and groups
- The prescribed actions in RCS2 quickly dated. The strategy was inflexible when new knowledge and conditions revealed flaws in its targets and when new policy sent resources elsewhere
- Ownership of the strategy by organisations named as its partners quickly dwindled even though they had shared in its development
- Accountability for RCS2 targets and actions was weak. Organisations saw few incentives to align changing priorities to match RCS2 unless it attracted new resources
- RCS2’s action targets became the focus of attention instead of its environmental goals. RCS2 became a checklist of ‘what’s been done’ with little assessment of whether the ‘doing’ was creating desirable change.
These findings from the comprehensive and independent review of RCS2 highlighted the need for a new RCS which provides:
A focus on measurable, realistic environmental condition targets.
Targets are a primary focus in this new RCS and significant and ongoing work is continuing to negotiate with partners the rationale and parameters by which these targets should be set.
Better benchmarking and monitoring of asset condition.
Greater consistency of effort and resources are needed to make accurate assessments of current environmental condition, and to establish efficient and appropriate tracking of future improvement or decline.
Targets that translate easily into the objectives and aspirations of people’s current work.
A focus on creating and sustaining voluntary commitment by partners to pursuing targets because the targets reflect their aspirations.
Clear direction and consistency, but also adaptability.
A strategy that can be amended and adapted will remain relevant, accurate and up-to-date.
To see the full review of RCS2, go to the Downloads section.
2010-12 development of draft strategy
A model strategy was developed in late 2010 and distributed to senior managers of various Victorian Government organisations and Councils. It attracted 250 comments on its scope, format and content.
The Port Phillip & Westernport CMA increased its focus on strategy development when guidelines were released in 2011 by the Victorian Catchment Management Council.
The idea of producing the strategy as a website gained momentum at a partners’ conference convened by the Port Phillip & Westernport CMA in December 2011.
A partners’ draft of the strategy was released as a website in September 2012 to nine Victorian Government organisations and the 38 councils that are wholly or partly in this region. Producing the partners’ draft enabled those key organisations to review and influence the structure and content of the strategy prior to the development and release of a draft for public consultation.
Feedback at this time showed the website format was overwhelmingly supported because it provided easy navigation, spatial analysis of assets at a local scale via an interactive mapping tool and update-ability so the strategy can be kept relevant and current.
2013: public consultation
A draft for public consultation was produced and a four week period of public consultation began on 15 April 2013.
The public consultation involved:
- A media release to newspapers in the region
- Advertisements in various newspapers around the region
- Distribution of a special Regional Catchment Strategy enewsletter to 300+ personnel within Victorian Government agencies and Councils
Distribution of a Catchment Management Authority e-newsletter to 1500+ people featuring an article on the draft Regional Catchment Strategy
- Highlighting “Leave Comments Here” buttons as a facility for any community members to provide input
- Consultation with various Landcare groups and networks at a series of five Catchment Action Round Tables around the region
- A workshop with the Western Port Catchment Committee
- A series of five ‘Community Listening Posts’ across the region that are open to any community members who wish to discuss any aspects of the Regional Catchment Strategy with Port Phillip & Westernport CMA representatives
- Promotion of the draft strategy through departmental and Council communication channels to their industry and community networks.
Targeted meetings with various organisations such as Trust for Nature, water authorities, Environment Victoria and the Victorian National Parks Association
- Continuing close consultation with major Victorian Government organisations and the 38 councils in the region.
The strategy was approved by the Victorian Minister for Environment & Climate Change and the Victorian Minister for Water and published in the Victorian Government Gazette on the 6th November 2014.
A set of simple amendments to the strategy were approved by the Minister for Environment, Climate Change and the Minister for Water in August 2015. These updated references to altered departmental names.
A second set of amendments was approved in 2016 by the Minister for Water and the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change. The changes included:
- Addition of new information about predicted climate change effects
- Addition of new leader organisations, their targets and management commitments.
The climate change information added to the strategy was developed through the ‘NRM planning for climate change’ project funded by the Australian Government.