The Port Phillip & Western Port region has a high number and diversity of stakeholders active in the management of the region’s native vegetation, waterways, agricultural land, biodiversity assets, and marine environments. Almost 5 million people call Melbourne and its hinterland home.
Key audiences for RCS:
- The RCS in development and implementation must engage the regional partner agencies and community members, to guide investment and activity in the region.
- Another key audience for the RCS is the relevant responsible Ministers on behalf of the Government of Victoria, since the CaLP Act requires CMAs to submit RCSs to the responsible Ministers, for information and approval.
- The RCS will also inform the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and other Government Departments.
- The RCS will also take into account the requirements of the Australian Government’s Regional Land Partnerships program for Natural Resource Management (NRM) plans.
- Different documents or other products arising from the RCSs may be prepared to target and engage with a range of other groups.
In the first installment of our summary of the recently released Regional Catchment Strategy (RCS) guidelines from the Victorian Catchment Management Council, we take a look at what exactly is the RCS and the purpose of the guidelines.
The Port Phillip & Western Port Regional Catchment Strategy (RCS) is the primary integrated planning framework for land, water and biodiversity for our region and also for each of the 9 other CMA regions in Victoria. It is an overarching succinct and high‐level strategy, with reference to more comprehensive, targeted and detailed supporting information.
The RCS guidelines were recently published by the Victorian Catchment Management Council and have been established under the provisions of the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994, Schedule 2, Clause 2.2 which states that ‘A management plan must be prepared in accordance with any guidelines established by the Council’.
Purpose of the guidelines
The RCS guidelines will assist the Port Phillip & Westernport CMA in preparing the next Regional Catchment Strategy (2021‐2027), the fourth since 1997. The guidelines prescribe consistency across Victoria for many elements of the next RCSs for all 10 CMAs, and intend to generate the following significant improvements for integrated catchment management (ICM):
- Consistent presentation of all 10 RCSs to form a coordinated set of ICM strategies covering the whole state.
- Regional‐scale strategies developed collaboratively with Victoria’s communities, enabling effective local delivery of Government programs, designed to improve catchment health.
- Improving the accessibility of the RCSs, enhancing communication, engagement and awareness in Victoria’s communities about catchment issues and opportunities.
- Supporting ease‐of‐use of RCSs for all stakeholders, particularly state-wide and multi‐region organisations that bridge multiple CMA regions.
- Providing the ability to aggregate appropriate information from RCSs to enable a state-wide or multi‐region view of a set of common overall outcomes and indicators.
- Providing a consistent outcomes framework across all regions.
- An opportunity to promote and support Government policy and targets including consistency in demonstrating how the local‐scale and regional‐scale strategies and actions outlined in the 10 RCSs contribute to state-wide outcomes and targets.
- Aligning with Traditional Owners and their ongoing connection to Country, acknowledging the importance of Indigenous Whole of Country Plans and Joint Management Plans.
- Providing the basis for the Natural Resources Management plans required under Australian Government programs such as the National Landcare Program.
- Providing a clear rationale for securing funding resources from regional partners, Australian Government, private sector and philanthropic organisations for the ICM priorities of Victoria.
- Aligning the RCSs to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.