The Victorian Catchment Management Council (VCMC) is the State Government’s key advisory body on catchment management. As an independent, expert body, the Council is well placed to influence change in working towards its vision for catchment management in Victoria, taking a statewide, long-term and strategic view.
VCMC’s Vision: Victoria will have healthy rivers flowing through ecologically sustainable and productive catchments.
The VCMC is appointed under the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994 (CaLP Act). Its major statutory roles are: to advise the Minister for the Environment and the Minister for Water, and any other Minister as requested, on land and water management issues; to report annually on the operation of the CaLP Act; and to report every five years on the environmental condition and management of Victoria's land and water resources, through the VCMC Catchment Condition Report.
As 2017 draws to a close we have seen the tabling and launch of the 2017 Catchment Condition and Management Report (CCMR). We have made four key recommendations - Recommendation 1: ‘Improve the quality of reporting; Consolidate statewide reporting for catchment condition and management to improve the quality of reporting,’ Recommendation 2: ‘Implement mandatory monitoring; Undertake consistent reporting of condition and management across the state using SMART targets to prioritise the Regional Catchment Strategies,’ Recommendation 3: ‘Involve catchment communities; adopt an on-going, measurable engagement process with all catchment communities to enable improved decision making and policy development,’ Recommendation 4: ‘Provide a 5-year funding cycle; support cost-effective investment by government in the CMAs in achieving community-led priorities through the Regional Catchment Strategy framework.’
We will work to achieve resolution of each of these recommendations to reinforce the benefits of ICM in Victoria. On behalf of Council I am proud of our work in bringing this the 5th such report together, acknowledging all contributions from individual Council members, the VCMC staff led by our Executive Officer Patricia Geraghty, Project Manager Dr Phil Wallis and Neil Meyers and Tracey Koper in so many different ways. There have been important contributions notably from Catchment Management Authorities (Boards, staff and community members), Traditional Owner organisations, the Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability and her staff and her Project Control Board members. We also acknowledge the support and input from the Department.
VCMC in many various ways, have been deeply involved in the progress of many important policy initiatives in Victoria’s natural resource management sphere. Water for Victoria, Biodiversity 2037, the review of the Marine and Coastal Act, and the development of Vic Catchments, with our colleagues from the Catchment Management Authorities. Additionally, Council member Peta Maddy has been chair of the Rural Drainage Strategy Committee, with Amity Dunstan as a member, with each directly involved in the public draft.
Most significantly we have hosted the 20th Anniversary celebrations of VCMC and the CMAs, with three functions - a Queen's Hall evening function, which included presentation of awards to individuals who’d given valuable service in natural resource management from each of the 10 CMA regions; followed by a Summit at the MCG with recognition and presentations of so much good previous work as well as future prospects. Finally VCMC is to host a career development / networking event for women in catchment management which will draw to a close the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the VCMC and CMAs. Each event has highlighted 20 years of integrated catchment management across Victoria and the national leadership the state has given to colleagues from all other jurisdictions.
Angus Hume, Chair