Draft Regional Catchment Strategy submitted for government consideration and approval
20 December 2021
The new Port Phillip & Western Port Regional Catchment Strategy (RCS) has recently been submitted to the Victorian Minister for Water for Government consideration.
The PPWCMA is very proud of this new RCS, the fourth edition since 1997, and considers it to be an excellent legacy to hand to Melbourne Water, which will take up the role of coordinating integrated catchment management in this region from 1st January 2022.
This RCS has been significantly improved over the past four months as a result of feedback and suggestions received from organisations and community members. This includes addition of new information and data, links to relevant polices and plans, development of extra targets and addition of a framework for monitoring and reporting on progress. The consultation process highlighted the strong interest in revegetation programs, and the RCS now includes a map of potential biolinks that could be established in the region in the decades ahead.
The new RCS provides a comprehensive overview of natural resource policy, planning and management across this highly complex and heavily populated region. Many stakeholders have commented that it is a unique and highly useful directory and strategy that will be valuable for professionals and communities across this region. The online format enables access to the RCS to virtually anyone, anywhere, anytime, and therefore makes the RCS accessible to many more of the ~5 million people of this region than previous printed versions.
This RCS has been developed in close consultation with regional stakeholders and communities. As a result of this consultation and collaboration, 119 organisations have formally nominated as supportive ‘Partner Organisations’ so far. These include government agencies and authorities, Registered Aboriginal Parties, local councils, non-government organisations and numerous community networks and groups. This strongly signals that there are many enthusiastic and willing supporters for natural resource and environmental management programs in this region. More organisations, including more councils of the region, are expected to join this list over the next few months. This level of support from diverse organisations is unprecedented.
It shows the connections between government policy and planning for water, land, biodiversity, agriculture, coast, marine and climate change management. We believe these various connections shown in a single document before, so this new RCS genuinely sets a new benchmark for the integration of the various components of natural resource management.
The RCS also has three sections that are proving to be of high interest and value for stakeholders, namely:
- A Prospectus that includes over 120 priority project ideas nominated by stakeholders in the region. These will be promoted and advocated for in the time ahead, with a view to attracting funding to this region for implementation of priority projects.
- An interactive map enabling RCS users to zoom in to explore the natural resources relevant to their local are.
- A ‘Guide for Planners’ which identifies information in the RCS that should be considered by strategic or statutory planners when developing local policy and planning or dealing with major applications or planning permit applications.
We look forward to consideration of this RCS by the government with a view to securing approval in early 2022.