Embracing regional ownership
The Glenelg Hopkins RCS is the result of a collaborative process involving government departments, Traditional Owner organisations, Local Government Authorities, regional organisations, agencies, community groups and individuals. Its development is guided by the Regional Catchment Strategy Guidelines produced by the Victorian Catchment Management Council and has involved ﬁve broad stages.
Review of the 2013-2019 RCS
Glenelg Hopkins CMA undertook a review of the Glenelg Hopkins 2013-2019 RCS in 2020. The purpose of this review was to build on the 2016 mid-term review to capture learnings about the implementation and effectiveness of the Strategy to inform the development of the region’s next RCS. The review was based on the key evaluation questions that were deﬁned for the RCS. Key evaluation questions (KEQs) were set against the areas of impact, appropriateness, effectiveness, efficiency and legacy.
A broad range of stakeholders were consulted as part of the review process, including discussions with key regional partners, feedback captured through discussions with Traditional Owners as part of the RCS renewal process, discussions with the Interagency NRM Planning Group and feedback from CMA staff. The review also considered information from a range of sources including:
- RCS mid-term review.
- RCS sub-strategy implementation reports.
- Annual Catchment Condition and Management Reports.
- Annual Actions and Achievement Reports.
- Project reports, case studies and external program and project evaluations.
Key learnings from the RCS review are outlined in the table below.
|Partner and stakeholder commitment to the RCS||There was strong support from stakeholders for the regionally focused and community-based approach to catchment management. Agency partners generally recognise the value of the RCS and are willing to work with the CMA on delivering against targets. The degree to which the RCS informed stakeholder investment planning was generally linked to the degree to which they had input into development of the document, or sub-strategy.|
|Strengthening engagement and partnerships through RCS development||It was recognised that consultation with Traditional Owner groups and communities could be strengthened for development of the next RCS. This includes regard for Aboriginal cultural knowledge and traditional ecological knowledge. Opportunities to strengthen Local Government Authority and Landcare network involvement in RCS development and delivery were also identified.|
|Regional ownership, including co-delivery from partners||There is an opportunity to strengthen the accountability of catchment management partners in implementing regional catchment strategies, and to strengthen coordination between key catchment management partners through regional delivery.|
|Boundary considerations||Coordination efforts will be required between CMAs to ensure that engagement processes are run efficiently where regional partnerships cross the boundary of multiple CMA regions.|
|On-line document||Support for the RCS to be developed as an on-line strategy to improve community accessibility, but also to maintain currency through period updates where required and as new information is released.|
|Climate Readiness of RCS objectives||Incorporation of the ‘climate readiness’ assessment, undertaken as part the development of the Glenelg Hopkins Climate Change Strategy in 2016, in the RCS renewal process.|
|New policy settings for Victoria||New state-wide polices and strategies have been released since the commencement of RCS implementation and will need to be considered in its renewal, including Our Catchments Our Communities (OCOC), the Victorian Waterway Management Strategy, Victorian Floodplain Management Strategy, Water for Victoria, Victorian Rural Drainage Strategy, Protecting Victoria’s Environment – Biodiversity 2036, as well as new coast and marine, and Great Ocean Road legislation.|
The Glenelg Hopkins RCS was developed using an integration of an asset-based and an adaptation pathways approach to planning. This builds on the planning approaches used in the last RCS and the Glenelg Hopkins Climate Change Strategy, and aligns with the RCS guidelines. The RCS also describes a set of local areas that cover the whole region.
The RCS is built around the asset class themes of community, water, biodiversity, land, and marine and coast. This approach provides a process to identify and describe key assets for attention and to achieve targeted outcomes throughout each theme. In this context, ‘assets’ are defined as tangible bio-physical elements of the environment that are important for their environmental, cultural, social and economic values.
Existing planning, prioritisation and decision making tools were considered alongside regional knowledge to refine and describe the key assets featured in the RCS.
Partner and community perspectives and information related to threats and issues, drivers of change, areas for intervention, outcome measures and priority management directions were provided through a series of theme based workshops, held between October 2020 and March 2021.
Outcomes have been set for each asset class for the region. Long-term outcomes have been identified to be achieved in 20+ years, as well as medium-term outcomes (‘stepping-stone’ outcomes) to be achieved over the 6-year life of the strategy. These outcomes will contribute to the achievement of the RCS vision, and are dependent on available funding and other opportunities beyond government investment.
Adaptation pathways is an analytical approach to climate change planning that explores multiple possible futures, based on differing inﬂuences over time. It recognises that change can happen both incrementally and suddenly as a result of unprecedented events (e.g. major ﬁres, ﬂoods, storm surges) and that these changes can result not only in loss, but also in innovation and renewal if the region is prepared for them. This approach was used in the Glenelg Hopkins Climate Change Strategy, where an adaptation pathway was developed for each asset theme, with the intent of informing the development of this strategy.
Adaptation planning can be seen throughout this RCS in the outcomes tables where priority management directions are identiﬁed across different pathway stages for each RCS theme. This enables the integration of strategic and adaptive management that embraces change and uncertainty as a normal part of planning and implementation. Pathways allow a suite of measures that together can achieve positive integrated catchment management outcomes. They are adaptable to different management contexts, and across a range of possible futures. Pathways also support a process of learning by doing and so are ﬂexible enough to be adjusted as knowledge, information, experience, values and systems change. The table below outlines the pathway stages used in this RCS.
|Resilience||Management directions that are accepted as being current and most effective. These practices are considered to increase the ability to recover or re-organise after disturbance.|
|Transition||Management directions that support the process of moving from one state or condition to another. This can either be in terms of an ecosystem or management practice.|
|Transformation||Management directions that result in a change to a new state, condition or practice. These management directions may currently be challenging to conceive and require significant research and preparation.|
The strategy identiﬁes six local areas based on regional priorities, values and assets. Local areas cover the entire region and reﬂect its social and biophysical characteristics. The RCS local areas were developed through a range of engagement activities and technical inputs beginning in early 2020. They highlight local community priorities and interests and show the interconnectedness of the RCS asset themes (community, water, biodiversity, land and marine and coast). As part of this process, a regional socio-economic analysis was also undertaken to better understand current and past trends in land use, industry and employment, and demographics within the catchment. This helped identify some key drivers of change for the region and socio-economic indicators that demonstrate these drivers. This information has been used to inform the development of and help describe the local areas, as well as the RCS themes.
Partner and community collaboration
Partner and community group input into the development of the RCS occurred between February 2020 and May 2021, with more than 820 participants and 70 organisations involved in the process. Due to coronavirus (COVID-19), this engagement has been largely though online forums. Where possible, engagement was done in collaboration with neighbouring CMAs where boundaries overlap. An overview of the RCS engagement process is provided below.
In line with requirements of the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994, the draft RCS was available for a four week public consultation period during July and August 2021.
RCS approval and changes
This RCS has been endorsed by the Glenelg Hopkins CMA Board and submitted to the Ministers responsible for administering the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994.
Several factors can affect the currency of this RCS, such as sudden changes to environmental conditions, access to new data or information, movements in government policy and shifts in available resources. Periodic amendments to the strategy may be needed to keep it up to date. Any changes to the approved RCS will only be made after a process that includes a period of community consultation and Ministerial consideration, in line with the approval process requirements of the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994.
Ministerial approval of content only relates to the following sections – Acknowledging Country, Our Region, This Strategy, Themes and Local Areas. The Climate Change, Region Map, Prospectus and Glossary pages can be updated as needed without Ministerial approval.