Local Government is one of the key partners in achieving the goals of the Goulburn Broken Regional Catchment Strategy.
Councils are well aware of the profound effect on our local community's environmental, economic and social well-being caused by salinity, water quality, river health, biodiversity, watertable and surface water management, greenhouse and climate change.
In fact, much of the community support to develop a regional strategy came through councils, which had realised a catchment approach was necessary to confront the many environmental challenges.
For almost two decades, councils in the Shepparton Irrigation Region have been contributing 17% towards the operating and maintenance costs of salinity control works, recognising the local community they represent is one of the major beneficiaries of managing salinity.
Councils, in conjunction with the GBCMA, also employ a full-time Municipal Catchment Coordinator to ensure their policies and activities are consistent with the catchment strategy.
Delegates from councils represent their communities on the CMA board and on a host of working groups and committees, identifying local issues and helping set the goals and priorities for environmental management throughout the catchment.
Local government's strategic and statutory planning provide vital mechanisms for achieving many of the goals of environmental management. Strategic planning sets the mid to long term goals and priorities for community development, which are crucial to ensure appropriate land use and development. Statutory planning controls the types and locations of development and the conditions under which it can occur, making sure reasonable standards are built into designs and construction so future environmental problems are avoided from the start.
Planning overlays, developed through the CMA, protect the community from investing in unsuitable areas, such as on land which is flood-prone or of high conservation value.
Using the catchment strategy as a base, most councils are developing their own environmental plans covering a host of urban and rural environmental issues, including land capability and biodiversity mapping, stormwater and waste water management plans, remnant vegetation and riparian land management, recycling, industrial waste, litter, greenhouse and climate change.
In 2006, under the "Sustainability Victoria" banner, all councils will develop "Environmental Sustainability Accords" - agreements between each municipality and the Victorian Government outlining local issues and targets to manage them on a sustainable basis. Councils have also supported many community groups, providing encouragement and leadership without which many major projects underway today may have been severely delayed or not even happened at all.
The days when councils were only interested in the three R's - roads, rates and rubbish are, well and truly, gone.
Follow the links on this page to see details of each municipality's policies and activities in environmental resource management.