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GBCMA Corporate Plan
2010-11 to 2014-15
On behalf of the Board, I am pleased to submit the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority's Corporate Plan for the period 2010-11 to 2014-15. The Corporate Plan has been prepared in accordance with Sections 19C and 19D of the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994, Section 247 (2A) of the Water Act 1989 and the 2010 Ministerial Form guidelines.
2010-11 will continue to place many challenges in front of the Goulburn Broken region as it implements its various natural resource management programs. These challenges include:
- Engaging with the MDBA Basin Plan development and ensuring alignment with the CMA's environmental water management responsibilities.
- Fire recovery, which is only just beginning in the southern part of the catchment, and with communities divided in their opinions of the value of native vegetation.
- Increasing corporate and statutory responsibilities.
- Government funding becoming increasingly competitive and declining.
- Climate change impacts threatening the water resources and health of our rivers.
- Maintaining the momentum of on-ground works and community engagement in the face of Catchment Management Authority (CMA) amalgamations.
The Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) Basin Plan is currently developing the Sustainable Diversion Limits process which is creating a lot of uncertainty in catchment communities. The Goulburn Broken CMA has been actively involved in this process through providing a submission and being involved in stakeholder interviews. This input will continue through active engagement in the development of the Draft Basin Plan and technical review of the two Icon Environmental Sites within the Goulburn Broken Catchment, i.e. the Lower Goulburn River System and Barmah-Millewa Forest. It will be critical that the environmental water allocations, arising out of this process, are integrated into our current programs to provide the sustainable balance of consumptive and environmental outcomes. A lack of socio-economic data also makes this a significant challenge.
The February 2009 fires were a national disaster and final assessments indicated that 165,000 hectares (or seven percent) of the Goulburn Broken Catchment was burnt, including 190 kilometres of major rivers. The Goulburn Broken CMA immediately played a critical role in supporting communities, assessing the damage, talking to communities affected and working with partners to devise a practical plan to rebuild the community and the natural environment. Through State and Commonwealth funding, the Goulburn Broken CMA has now instigated a fire recovery employment program employing over 12 community members to undertake a range of environmental activities including revegetation, weed control and fencing. An emerging challenge is the fear in some communities that replacing and/or maintaining key native vegetation assets creates an unreasonable ongoing fire risk. All levels of Government have a critical role to play to ensure that our natural biodiversity assets are given the opportunity to also recover from this disaster.
The Government's White Paper for Land and Biodiversity flags increased statutory responsibilities in groundwater and planning. This coincides with increasing referrals and new legal liabilities likely to arise from the new Planning and Environment Act. Consequently, the Goulburn Broken CMA Board has requested management to investigate increasing fees under Section 55 and/or reallocating funds, where possible, from on-ground works to cover growing statutory planning responsibilities. This reallocation, whilst reducing the level of onground works, will add to the protection of our natural assets through a compliance approach. The Goulburn Broken CMA currently has the lowest cost of any CMA for referrals and the highest volume.
The 2010-11 Goulburn Broken Corporate Plan demonstrates that $55 million of government funding is needed to deliver programs with a reasonable level of outputs that will maintain or improve catchment condition. Current revenue forecasts for the 2010-11 Corporate Plan suggest that revenue will be $16.7 million, which is 30 percent of what is currently needed and about 60 percent of forecast revenue for 2009-10. If further funds are not forthcoming, this will have two major impacts; (i) a deterioration in the condition of natural resources in the catchment, and (ii) a loss of regional jobs.
Climate variability continues to challenge the community and the catchment, be it freak storm incidents or just the prevailing dry conditions. The Goulburn Broken CMA continues to work with landowners and stakeholders to integrate climate adaptation into their various levels of management actions, on farm and regionally. Unfortunately the highly successful Drought Employment Program was not funded in 2009-10, but we have built on the learnings from this to create a similar program in the fire recovery areas. The drought has provided benefits to the salinity and water quality conditions in the catchment, but continues to challenge our ability to maintain the ecosystem health of our waterways. The recently announced funding from the Commonwealth's On-Farm Irrigation Efficiency Program (OFIEP) will continue to build on the CMA's Land and Water Management Plan objectives whilst enabling enhancement at the farm level of the Northern Victoria Irrigation Renewal Project (NVIRP) irrigation modernisation program. The conversion from flood irrigation to spray or drip technology has not been funded in the first round of the Commonwealth's investment in this program, but efforts will be made to capture this opportunity in the second round.
The Goulburn Broken CMA relies on a range of catchment partners, including our landowners, to deliver on this Corporate Plan. This reliance includes the goodwill, support, on-ground works as well as the expertise of our partners including Landcare, landowners, Department of Primary Industries, Department of Sustainability and Environment, Goulburn-Murray Water, Commonwealth Government, Local Governments, and community groups and organisations.
The Goulburn Broken CMA Board looks forward to working with the Authority's staff to deliver on this Corporate Plan.
Peter F Ryan
|GB CMA Corporate Plan 2010-11 to 2014-15|