From Tania Foster, Chair, Port Phillip & Westernport Catchment Management Authority
This Regional Catchment Strategy aims to help people and organisations work together to achieve our shared vision – a healthy and resilient environment and well-managed natural resources.
This is the fourth edition of the Regional Catchment Strategy over the past 25 years. Its regular renewal ensures the vision and targets stay in tune with the values, aspirations and priorities of our many partner organisations and communities. Renewal also ensures the strategy contains the latest information about the state of our region’s land, water and biodiversity and the trends, public policy and economic conditions that influence their future.
This new Regional Catchment Strategy includes timely assertions of the central place of Traditional Owner knowledge and aspirations in natural resource management. It asserts the unique rights, roles, status and responsibilities of Registered Aboriginal Parties and Traditional Owners as the voice for their Country.
It also opens a new chapter for integrated catchment management in the Port Phillip & Western Port region. From January 2022, Melbourne Water will lead the coordination of Regional Catchment Strategy implementation and reporting. Its skilled and experienced workforce, its strengths in knowledge, science and community-based action and its resources and region-wide presence are a fitting match for the task ahead.
And the task ahead is big. Nature, its habitats and natural places in land, freshwater, coastal and marine environments face continuing loss in many parts of the region. Open space, nature and agriculture are under pressure from a city whose sprawl is difficult to contain.
Integrated catchment management is a search to find sustainable solutions when the health and resilience of nature, open space and agriculture compete with quests for economic growth for a growing population and at a time of changing climate.
This Regional Catchment Strategy is an authoritative guide for that search. Its targets describe what we seek to protect and retain, and thresholds we seek to avoid so natural assets are not irreparably damaged. Its inventories of policies and plans and its prospectus of projects describe our region’s community-based directions and actions to achieve the targets.
This strategy is an agreement, by many partners, about how we will be stewards for our environments and how we will work together to conserve them as priceless inheritance for future generations. I commend it to you.
From John Thwaites, Chair, and Michael Wandmaker, Managing Director, Melbourne Water
The integration of the Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority with Melbourne Water provides an exciting opportunity to deliver truly integrated catchment and waterway management, realising environmental and community benefits across the region from catchment to coast.
While we have always been a committed and active partner in the development and implementation of previous Regional Catchment Strategies, we now embrace the role of the CMA, championing, leading and coordinating integrated catchment management across the Port Phillip and Westernport region. This will build on the role we currently play through the Healthy Waterways Strategy and extend our work to cover the integrated management of land, water and biodiversity resources across this region.
Continuing to build on the partnerships established by the CMA over years of collaboration in delivering previous strategies will be pivotal to the success in achieving our shared vision of this new edition strategy. In particular, we recognise Traditional Owners as the voice for their Country and are committed to ensuring strong relationships with them will be a cornerstone of our work.
We also look forward to expanding our work with all strategy partners on protection and enhancement of biodiversity, sustainable agriculture and climate change adaptation. We welcome the opportunity to advance these areas with Landcare and community groups, Councils, environmental groups, businesses and communities.
We thank the Port Phillip & Westernport Catchment Management Authority for its leadership in natural resource management and the work it has done over the past 25 years. It is handing to us a great legacy we are committed to uphold and evolve.
Melbourne Water is proud to have the opportunity to build on the foundations laid down by previous Regional Catchment Strategies. We invite all our regional partners and communities to become actively involved in this exciting new phase of integrated catchment management.