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Local Plans available for public review and comment

Local Plans identifying the land, water, biodiversity and productivity priorities in four of the six broad geographic regions that make up the Goulburn Broken Catchment are now available for public comment.

Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (CMA) Regional Catchment Strategy (RCS) Transition Manager Mark Turner said the six regions – or social-ecological systems – had been identified during the development of 2013-2019 RCS.

“The regions are made up of a mix of social and geographic landscapes that share similar characteristics and issues that give them a unique identity and importance to their local communities,” Mr Turner said.

The regions are:
•    Agricultural Floodplains to the north;
•    Productive Plains across the centre;
•    Upland Slopes to the south-east;
•    Southern Forests to the south;
•    Commuting Hills in the south-west; and
•    Urban Centres such as Benalla/Shepparton/Seymour/Cobram/Yarrawonga.
 
“We know that communities that live and work in these regions are best placed to identify the priorities and actions to improve and protect the local environment in the face of changes to land-use practices , climate and water policy reform,” Mr Turner said.

“We recently held a series of workshops and invited members of each of the regions to help develop up local plans. We revisited the RCS to check that the challenges it identified – such as urbanization and a shift to ‘lifestyle’ development in the Commuting Hills and the Upland Slopes, loss of vegetation and biodiversity in the Productive Plains or the effects of increased likelihood of fire, drought and flood in the Southern Forests – were still relevant.

“The groups then prioritized the on-ground actions to address these challenges and identified who would drive this effort. This work formed the basis of the Local Plans, which we’d now really like people to read and provide comment.”

 The Local Plans are available at weconnect.gbcma.vic.gov.au, an interactive “wiki” that allows users to comment and edit the plans once they are registered. Comment can also be made directly in writing to the Goulburn Broken CMA at PO Box 1752 Shepparton VIC 3632 or emailed to reception@gbcma.vic.gov.au

The comment period is open until October 24.

The Local Plan for the Agricultural Floodplains is being developed by the Sustainable Irrigation Program Advisory Group Taskforce and will be available shortly. The Urban Centres will be incorporated in their broader geographic areas.

The plans will be reviewed each year and used by the Goulburn Broken CMA and partners to influence government and other investors to help shape policies and programs to build the resilience of the Catchment’s natural resources and people.