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 2021-27 will consist of five major themes that are in line with the State Government’s ‘Our Catchments, Our Communities’ Integrated Catchment Management Strategy (2016).
The major themes are Water; Land; Biodiversity; Coasts & Marine; and Community. It is recognised that these broad themes are inter‐connected, and also align with the way governments and other investors often plan and roll out their investment programs.
The themes could be divided further into the following sub-themes:
Each theme will include the following headings:
(Note that SMART outcomes are: specific; measurable; achievable; relevant; and time‐bound.)
The core principle when developing the next RCS will be to adopt a whole‐of‐system approach for land, water and biodiversity planning and delivery. This is often referred to as integrated catchment management (ICM).
Why is ICM so important?
As well as being a whole system approach, it also captures the values and priorities of regional communities and brings together partners from across the catchment region to identify and respond to challenges that cannot be solved by one organisation or stakeholder alone. The next RCS will explain how ICM is implemented in the Port Phillip & Western Port region.
ICM enables partners and the community to collaborate on ideas, and gives opportunities to deliver on a range of benefits, including:
ICM establishes strong links between communities and the natural resources within a catchment, and its characteristics are:
Principles for development of RCS 2021-27
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’.
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):
The Victorian Catchment Management Council have now released guidelines for the development of the next iteration of Victoria’s Regional Catchment Strategies (RCSs), covering the period 2021‐2027.
The guidelines 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 ’.
The RCS plays an important role in providing integrated catchment management outcomes across the state. These guidelines are a departure from previous guidelines in that they prescribe consistency across Victoria for many elements of the next RCSs.
Over the next few weeks we will breakdown the guidelines and discuss what it means for the Port Phillip & Western Port region.
New Board members were appointed at the Port Phillip & Westernport CMA on 1 October 2019, leading to one change on the RCS Committee. Our RCS Committee is now made up of (left to right) Neville Goodwin OAM, Susan Anderson, Nicola Ward and Dr Sandra Brizga (RCS Chair).
Neville is a primary producer at Woodleigh and has a long history of community representation and public service. He is a former Councillor and Mayor of Bass Coast Shire Council and before this served as Commissioner at the City of Wyndham. Neville is a long-serving community representative on the Bass Coast Shire Council Major Events Committee and a member of the National Vietnam Veterans Museum Board. He is also the Chair of the Grantville Community Market and Grantville Recreation Reserve Committee, and previously sat on the Board of Bass Coast Regional Health.
Susan is a primary producer and small business owner in Bunyip with conservation qualifications and extensive Landcare and environmental community contacts through the Western Port catchment. She is also a life member and President of the Bunyip Landcare Group. Susan is actively involved in several local organisations, including reserve management, and is an advocate for increased awareness and conservation of natural values.
Nicola has over 20 years’ senior experience in State and local government and brings strong skills in policy, strategy and implementation, particularly in natural resource management and land use change. Most recently, as Manager City Planning at the City of Casey, Nicola oversaw the strategic development, land use and infrastructure planning of one of Australia’s fastest growing and largest cities. Her portfolio of responsibilities included stormwater and water sensitive urban design, environment and heritage management, and recreation and open space planning. Nicola has managed a property for conservation and small-scale food production.
Sandra has over 30 years’ experience in river, catchment and coastal management, working as an independent consultant since 1995. Sandra has qualifications in geography, geomorphology, environmental law and finance and is the President of the Australian and New Zealand Geomorphology Group. Sandra also Chairs the Bellarine Bayside Foreshore Committee of Management and is a Trustee of Trust for Nature. She is also a Fellow of the Peter Cullen Trust and an Honorary Life Member of the River Basin Management Society.
The RCS Committee is responsible for monitoring the strategic directions for the Regional Catchment Strategy, recommends any changes to the Board, and oversees maintenance and ongoing development of the RCS.
The RCS Committee is working to ensure that the current renewal of the RCS is managed in ways that meet requirements of the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994, and that stakeholder and public involvement in RCS development and implementation is met or exceeded.