Please join the RBMS for a workshop to discuss our response to the Water for Victoria Discussion Paper. This workshop follows the Water Plan Update discussed at our Melbourne Reading Group in December 2015. Liz Johnston and Kate Berg from DELWP will be joining us again to provide some context and answer questions. Please note we have a new venue for this event and attendance is capped to 16 RBMS members (first in basis).
Monday, 18 April 2016 from 7:30 AM to 9:00 AM (AEST)
Ross House Association – Mezzanine Room 1 (Sue Healy Room)
247 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Australia – View Map
We will focus our discussion on Chapter 3 – Waterway and catchment health, which is available here. There will also be an opportunity to follow up on discussions about other chapters in the Plan.
The response template prepared by DELWP for Chapter 3 is provided below. Further information will be made available next week.
We look forward to seeing some of you there.
– The RBMS Committee
Chapter 3 Response Template
Proposed objective: To protect all waterways from the adverse impacts of human use and improve the condition of priority waterways to support environmental, social, cultural and economic needs and values of communities now and into the future.
3.1. The Discussion Paper proposes that:
‘Through implementation of regional waterway strategies, which identify priority waterways in consultation with local communities, the government proposes to:
- Improve the health of 36 priority waterways, by focusing investment on large-scale projects to achieve targeted outcomes over the next 30 years
- Continue investing in on-ground work and environmental water management of other local priority waterways identified in regional waterway strategies for community benefits
- Establish long term evaluation sites and ensure that waterway managers monitor and report back to communities on the progress of securing environmental outcomes.’
How strongly would you support this direction?
3.2. The Discussion Paper proposes that:
‘Over the next four years the government will build on the Victorian Waterway Management Strategy by:
- Implementing the Regional Riparian Action Plan to accelerate priority onground riparian work
- Improving the health of the Gippsland Lakes by continuing to support the Gippsland Lakes Coordinating Committee and investing in on-ground works and community engagement
- Introducing legislative provisions to protect the Yarra River from inappropriate development and promote the river’s amenity and significance.’
What feedback would you provide about this proposed direction?
3.3. The Discussion Paper proposes that:
‘The government will continuously improve environmental water management practice by:
- Continuing to work in close partnership with communities, its regional partners, the Commonwealth and other state governments to achieve environmental outcomes under the Basin Plan and other intergovernmental agreements
- Delivering on the existing commitment to provide an additional eight gigalitres of environmental water to the Thomson River
- Reconfirming Central Region Sustainable Water Strategy environmental water recovery targets and identifying options to meet existing shortfalls with local communities and stakeholders in the Moorabool, Barwon, Werribee and Maribyrnong Rivers
- Continuing to invest in environmental works and measures to make the most efficient use of the available environmental entitlements and maximise environmental outcomes
- Ensuring that the Victorian Environmental Water Holder, working with waterway managers, continues to identify and report on opportunities for shared benefits from environmental watering, which will support recreational benefits to local communities and benefits to Traditional Owners. This will occur where it is cost effective and aligns with environmental objectives
- Ensuring environmental watering program partners monitor and report back to communities on their progress towards expected environmental outcomes.’
How strongly would you support these steps? Have we missed anything?
3.4. The Discussion Paper proposes that:
‘The government will protect all Victorian waterways from the adverse impacts of human use by:
- Investigating opportunities to enhance waterway protection mechanisms through planning instruments. In the first instance, for the Yarra River, this will be explored through the work of the Yarra River Protection Ministerial Advisory Committee
- Improving understanding of how and where land use and management in Victoria has the greatest impact on waterway health
- Developing and implementing a new State Environment Protection Policy (Waters) to:
- o Confirm the beneficial uses of Victorian ground waters and surface waters
- o Confirm the water segments to which beneficial uses apply
- o Set water quality indicators and objectives to protect beneficial uses
- o Establish a contemporary risk-based framework for the management of unlicensed pollution sources – both point and diffuse sources in rural and urban areas
- o Provide for the development of plans to manage improved water quality outcomes
- o Enable water quality offsets to be used within catchments to maintain regulatory compliance within waterways, taking into account work previously conducted by the Victorian water industry.’
What advice or feedback do you have for the government about this proposed direction?
3.5. The Discussion Paper proposes that:
‘The government will strengthen community engagement and participation in waterway and catchment health through:
- Involving the community to a greater extent in planning, priority and outcome setting, on-ground work and monitoring
- Continued support of Landcare, Waterwatch, EstuaryWatch and other citizen science initiatives
- Building partnerships with recreational anglers to plan, deliver and monitor projects to improve fish habitat.’
How strongly would you support this direction? Have we missed anything?
3.6. The Discussion Paper proposes that:
‘The government will improve waterway health knowledge, monitoring and innovation by:
- Establishing a waterway research hub to:
- o Review Victoria’s waterway monitoring program design
- o Synthesise and share available knowledge and evidence
- o Coordinate research to test assumptions between outputs and outcomes
- o Investigate new technologies to assist large scale, long term information gathering and how to perform work activities more efficiently and effectively
- Developing and applying Environmental-Economic Accounting for waterway and catchment health to assist in decision making
- Investigating carbon accounting methods for waterways.
The waterway research hub will be based at the Arthur Rylah Institute and will work collaboratively across government and research organisations.’
What do you think about this proposal? Are there other opportunities we should consider?
Any other comments about Chapter 3: Waterway and catchment health?