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.
At the conclusion of the term of office for the immediate past Council, it is particularly important to reflect upon progress through the period. There have been aspects of our business where innovation has been demonstrated, particularly in the preparation and writing of the Catchment Condition and Management Report (CCMR), 2017 and its subsequent tabling in Parliament of Victoria. Additionally, the continued development of collaboration across broadening partnerships, has been a major benefit to broadening the understanding of this State’s integrated catchment management framework. VCMC has been pleased with the broad acceptance of the CCMR and the cooperation and collaboration with our partners, the CMAs, the DELWP and Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability, in particular.
Beyond CCMR, much has been achieved through the implementation of Water for Victoria, in which VCMC has been particularly active in Our Catchments Our Communities (OCOC). Council members have brought their individual expertise to a number of important strategic / policy matters such as the Victorian Regional Drainage Strategy, leadership of and for Women in Agriculture, participation in various committees with the OCES and many more.
A key aspect of our ongoing business will be to finalise the drafting of the Regional Catchment Strategy Guidelines. I commend the work and contributions thus far from primary partner representatives, Chris Norman, David Buntine, Katie Warner and Adam Bester (CMAs) and Adam Hood and Luke Murphy (DELWP). The formalising of this drafting process will continue into 2019 and we are looking for further innovation in the RCSs of the future to allow regions to highlight priorities for delivery of beneficial outcomes.
As an important aspect of our business, we have continued to provide advice on matters before government and advise the Minister on matters of policy, legislation and regulation as well as bring before government issues of community importance from across the State.
In drawing this term to a close, I acknowledge the individual and collective work of Council members, Peta Maddy (two terms), Amity Dunstan, Lance Lloyd and Geoff Park (each one term). They have brought their own knowledge and skills to our collective achievements. To Joan Liley and Alana Johnson my thanks and congratulations on your reappointments to the next term of VCMC. I also acknowledge the support and assistance to Helen Vaughan, in her role on Council as the representative of the Secretary.
To our incoming Council members Kristen Jackson, Dr Kirsten Shelly and Dr Rohan Henry, we look forward to welcoming you all and working with you all.
In conclusion, to each of our secretariat, the Executive Officer, Patricia Geraghty, Research & Policy Coordinator, Neil Meyers and Project and Administration Officer, Tracey Koper, our thanks for their ongoing contributions through a period of some change. In this acknowledgement, I recognise the work of the late Dr Phil Wallis on the CCMR.
Angus Hume, Chair