Mature partnerships between the key groups that manage, protect and enhance the region’s precious natural resource base are critical to the success of the Regional Catchment Strategy (RCS). The WGCMA and partners are committed to working in a collaborative manner to deliver high quality regional programs that benefit the Gippsland environment and the regional community.
Partnerships associated with RCS implementation vary greatly and include large agencies with multiple departments, Landcare networks, local governments and industry groups with long-term formal agreements, Traditional Owner groups, small community organisations with sporadic or ongoing engagement and emerging partners big and small.
Some partners may be collaborative with one part of the organisation but have challenging or emerging relationships in other parts. Some partnerships, such as those between Traditional Owner groups and the WGCMA have formal agreements in place but are still in the early stages of partner development.
Implementation of the West Gippsland Regional Catchment Strategy adopts the following principles for partnership and engagement, consistent with the approach taken by all Victorian Catchment Management Authorities.
We embed partnerships and engagement in all that we do We provide meaningful opportunities for community and partners to contribute to strategies and initiatives Our community and partnership approach will be well resourced, planned, tailored, targeted and evaluated We will collaborate with community and partners, transparently and respectfully and establish clear roles and expectations. For the development and implementation of the RCS, partners are grouped into three categories: collaborative, working and networking partners, as detailed below. The successful implementation of the RCS will rely on all partners and community to varying degrees.
Characteristics of a collaborative partnership:
- Formal agreement in place
- Pooled resources
- Two-way input into mutually beneficial strategy, plan and project outcomes.
The Gippsland Environmental Agencies (GEA), is a forum composed of regional catchment partners, formed with the intention to work together to strengthen coordination, collaboration, and accountability for integrated catchment management across the Gippsland region.
GEA enables agencies to discuss opportunities for strategic collaboration and priority setting. Areas of focus include development and implementation of the RCS, progressing women in leadership roles, coordinated delivery of initiatives, as well as nurturing Aboriginal partnerships.
The collaborative partners in the region include:
Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation (BLCAC)
BLCAC, is the Traditional Owner organisation that represents the Bunurong people of the South-Eastern Kulin Nation.
BLCAC is the Registered Aboriginal Party (RAP) for the Mornington Peninsula, Westernport and part of South-West Gippsland. They are legally recognised under Victoria’s Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006, with responsibilities for managing and protecting Aboriginal cultural heritage on Country.
They are the primary guardians, keepers and knowledge holders of Aboriginal cultural heritage for their designated RAP area.
Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning – Gippsland (DELWP)
DELWP, brings together Victoria’s climate change, energy, environment, water, forests, planning and emergency management functions into a single department to maximise connections between the environment, community, industry, and economy.
Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (DJPR)
Within the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, Agriculture Victoria, works with the agriculture industry on research, development and extension to improve production, connect the sector with international markets and support development. They have a regulatory responsibility within the agriculture portfolio, particularly regarding biosecurity.
East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (EGCMA)
EGCMA, is a Catchment Management Authority established under the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994 and the Water Act 1988 to provide integrated management of land, biodiversity, and water resources in the East Gippsland region. The EGCMA also has responsibility for the planning and delivery of river health works and several statutory activities.
Environmental Protection Authority – Gippsland (EPA)
The EPA, works to prevent and reduce the harmful effect of pollution and waste on Victoria’s environment and people. They work with community, industry, and businesses.
Gippsland Regional Water Corporation (GW)
Trading as Gippsland Water, this regional water corporation is responsible for delivering water and wastewater services across Gippsland.
Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation (GLaWAC)
GLaWAC, are the Traditional Owners of approximately 1.33 million hectares in Gippsland, concluding 200 meters of offshore sea territory. Their country extends from the coast to the Great Divide, Warragul and the Snowy River.
GLaWAC represents Traditional Owners from the Brataualung, Brayakaulung, Brabralung, Krauatungalung and Tatungalung family clans, who were recognised in the Native Title Consent Determination, made under the new Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010, the first such agreement under that Act.
GLaWAC is the Prescribed Body Corporate (PBC) for the Gunaikurnai people and claim area, as outlined in the agreement, providing joint management of ten parks and reserves within the State.
GLaWAC is the Registered Aboriginal Party for the Gunaikurnai claim area. They are legally recognised under Victoria’s Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006, with responsibilities for managing and protecting Aboriginal Cultural Heritage on Country. They are the primary guardians, keepers and knowledge holders of Aboriginal Culture for their designated RAP area.
Gunaikurnai Traditional Owner Land Management Board (GKTOLMB)
The main role of the Board is to coordinate the development of a joint management plan by working closely with the Gunaikurnai people, joint management partners and consulting with all groups and individuals who express an interest.
Parks Victoria – Eastern (PV)
Parks Victoria, is a statutory authority of the Victorian Government acting in accordance with the Parks Victoria Act 2018. Parks Victoria recognises the value and importance of working in partnership with Traditional Owners to manage parks and reserves in a culturally sensitive and ecologically appropriate way. In partnership with Traditional Owners, they help connect people with Country, understand cultural heritage and contribute to human health and wellbeing.
Southern Rural Water Corporation (SRW)
Southern Rural Water, is a water corporation responsible for managing irrigation districts, the regulation of surface water and groundwater licensing, and storage dams across the southern third of Victoria.
South Gippsland Region Water Corporation (SGW)
South Gippsland Water, is a service provider, supporting communities across South Gippsland with sustainable water and wastewater services that are essential to the prosperity and wellbeing of our communities and natural environments.
Trust for Nature Victoria (TfN)
Trust for Nature (Victoria), is a not-for-profit organisation that works with private landholders to protect native plants and animals. Two-thirds of Victoria is freehold, making the protection of habitat vital in preventing extinction. They work with landholders to place voluntary conservation covenants on properties and to buy and sell land which has conservation value through their Revolving Fund.
West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (WGCMA)
The WGCMA, is a natural resource management organisation created by the state government to manage land and water resources across the West Gippsland region.
Characteristics of a working partnership:
- Working together to deliver RCS or agency outcomes
- Input provided to strategies and projects.
The key working partners in the region include:
Australian Government: Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
The Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE), has a diverse portfolio working to protect Australia’s natural resources and support agricultural industries. DAWE works government agencies and the public to ensure Australia’s land, water and heritage are well-managed, protected and productive. The Department has six key areas of focus: agriculture, environment and heritage, water resources, biosecurity, Antarctic and being future ready.
The Department achieves its objectives through its eight streams:
- Data and analytics
- Digital, tools and technology
- Partnering and stakeholder engagement
- Financial discipline and sustainability
- People, leadership and change.
The Department also plays a critical role in supporting implementation of the RCS through:
- Its expertise in setting national standards and helping fund sustainable use of natural resources across whole farm production and marketing systems
- Developing and implementing policy for the protection of environments and environmental assets of national significance
- Its role as investor for Australian Government investment through the National Landcare Program.
The local government bodies in the West Gippsland region are major investors, planners and project managers in natural resource management, individually and collectively. Local government planning schemes, environmental policies and strategies play a key role in ensuring protection and enhancement of natural resources. Councils are also contributors to natural resource management through local laws and regulatory activities, community engagement and education, on-ground works employing Council and community resources, and monitoring and reporting of environmental change at a local level.
There are five local government authorities within the West Gippsland region:
Landcare Networks and groups
There are five Landcare networks supporting approximately 70 Landcare groups within the West Gippsland region. There are also approximately 55 community NRM groups who do not sit within the Landcare network structure, such as friends of groups or foreshore committees of management. All these groups and networks drive projects that address local and landscape scale issues through on ground works such as revegetation, pest plant and animal management, soil health and riparian management. They also build skills and social connections in the community through training and events.
- Bass Coast Landcare Network
- Maffra and District Landcare Network
- Latrobe Catchment Landcare Network
- South Gippsland Landcare Network
- Yarram Yarram Landcare Network
Other working partners
Other working partners include: