Partnerships and collaborations
Vic Catchments continues to be a point of contact for industry stakeholders seeking support and input.
Sharyon attended the VicWater Connect Conference, which was an excellent event, and a great opportunity to connect with others in the Water Industry.
Tony attended a Dja Dja Wurrung-led workshop with Jenny Wilson from GBCMA regarding the Victorian Revegetation review. A range of industry stakeholders attended. The focus was how to coordinate the revegetation industry to build capacity to meet the Biodiversity 2037 targets. There was a strong theme around how to support First Nations People to be part of the industry that supports an increase in revegetation activities.
Tony has been invited to participate in discussions about the Nature Locator being explored by the People and Parks Foundation. This follows on from the work Dianne Thomas from NECMA did with the group. The concept is for an online tool that links people with nature-based recreation opportunities https://peopleandparks.org/
Tony attended the Landcare Victoria (LVI) AGM and strategic workshop in May. At the AGM Terry Hubbard stood down as Chair of LVI and Jane Carney was elected. The strategic workshop involved Landcare members and partners discussing how LVI might achieve the outcomes of its strategic plan. There were many opportunities where CMAs could work with LVI including:
- Data collection and analysis.
- Marketing and storytelling.
- Governance and capacity building.
This will further inform the Vic Catchments and Landcare Victoria joint action plan aimed at driving the outcomes of our MOU.
Sharyon and Tony also met with the President of the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV), Cr David Clark and Claire Dunn MAV’s Manager – Built and Natural Environment. This provided an opportunity to discuss areas of joint interest including:
- Planning and development.
- Floodplain management.
- Climate change adaptation and mitigation.
- The protection of our natural resources such as water and biodiversity.
- Community engagement.
Tony will be working with Claire to explore opportunities for further collaboration.
A stronger industry
It has been a busy period and we have coordinated some Vic Catchments responses including the:
- Proposed regulated watercourse land regulations – these are the regulations that will control access to licensed crown frontage for camping.
- Right Plant, Right Way – Revegetation Review Victoria.
Vic Catchments also made a written submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Environmental Infrastructure for Growing Populations. As a result of this submission, we were asked to present to the Inquiry. Sharyon Peart and Tony presented on what CMAs do and how we can contribute. A copy of our presentation is available on request. Hansard is also available online.
Vic Catchments is also taking part in an upcoming workshop (Shaping Victoria’s Biosecurity Future – 17-18 June) that is being coordinated by Agriculture Victoria. This follows an interview process that David Brennan and Tony participated in last October. Shaping Victoria’s Biosecurity Future is part of Agriculture Victoria’s efforts to strengthen Victoria’s biosecurity system.
With some uncertainty around CMA budgets the decision has been made to extend Tony Baker’s acting arrangement for the Executive Officer position until 30 September 2021.
As Sharyon Peart will be stepping down as Chair of Vic Catchments at the end of June, it is fitting that we pay tribute to her efforts. Sharyon has led Vic Catchments over the past two years, the majority of it in the most trying of circumstances. The east of the State was severely impacted by fire, drought was a reality in some regions and then Covid-19 impacted our ability to engage. Despite this Sharyon was able to establish an MOU with VEWH, develop a new Charter and Strategic Plan and establish several governance improvements. More importantly Sharyon was able to build and strengthen relationships with the Minister’s Office, senior DELWP staff and leaders of partner organisations. These relationships have been built on trust, respect and honesty. This collaborative approach is the core purpose of Vic Catchments and Sharyon went above and beyond to make it happen and show that #CMAsgetitdone. Thank you Sharyon.
Sharyon’s farewell speech to Vic Catchments is included below.
I would like to say just as few words about Vic Catchments evolution as this will be my last meeting as chair.
About five years ago there was recognition in the then group of chairs and CEOs that we needed a more formal approach to our collective gatherings. Graeme Dear did some research and we took on the idea of a forum approach with an Executive Officer (EO) that could work with the CEOs' group and run the Forum.
Peter Veenker took on the chair's role and John Riddiford was appointed EO, this was certainly a great partnership. Over time the role of deputy chair was introduced in order to spread the workload and develop some collegiate succession.
Peter’s positive and encouraging influence to support and drive the collegiate spirit of working together has brought us to the where we are today as Vic Catchments.
At this time John was working on the most appropriate way to formalise arrangements with our stakeholders. Peter and John did a great deal of work to socialise this concept of Vic Catchments.
It was in late 2017 we signed our first MOU with Landcare Victoria, a great achievement, with the then Parliamentary Secretary of Environment, Anthony Carbines, with us on the day.
Our Actions and Achievements report was also born - a great bookend for the narrative of Vic Catchments.
As a group we have continued to work on our strategy, our CEOs working together to deliver positive outcomes both strategic and on the ground.
Most importantly, we have continued to develop our relationship with DELWP and continue to meet on a quarterly basis with Helen Vaughn our Deputy Secretary and Karen Lau our Executive Director Catchments, Waterways, Cities and Towns.
Peter asked me if I would step up as acting chair in early 2019.
Jarod Lyon was seconded to the EO role and together we wanted to take the next steps in giving Vic Catchments a face whilst continuing to explore opportunities to collaborate.
The work of OCOC and defining ICM has been an integral part of the journey and telling the stories as well as working alongside our Traditional Owners.
We were proud to be sponsors of the River Basin Management Society and finally have a logo and banner that spoke to our work.
We have continued fostering our relationship with VEWH through the development of an MOU and to strengthen our relationship with the Commissioner of Environment and Sustainability and have been invited to join the Commissioners round table as endorsed by the Minister for Environment.
Tony Baker began his secondment in October 2019 and I thank him for continuing to extend his time with us as we work through these most difficult of times
Along with managing ‘business as usual’ extremely diligently over the period, he has maintained and strengthened Vic Catchments' established relationships and partnerships with stakeholders as well as continued to build on emerging relationships and pave the way for new opportunities. Most importantly we continue to build trust and respect across the sector and I think that is evident by the calibre of guests we have joining us today and is testament to Tony’s work, evidence that we are continuing to grow and evolve.
These small steps are all part of a long journey that sees Vic Catchments now embedded in the business as usual of NRM in Victoria and I am excited for the future.
The Chairs group will be working in the coming weeks to appoint the Chair and deputy.