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Thursday, 5 May 2022

North East Regional Catchment Strategy approved by Victorian Government

The new North East Regional Catchment Strategy (RCS) provides a long-term vision and blueprint for investment into and management of natural resources for north east Victoria.

It reflects the responses of those living, working, visiting and connecting with the region, who were asked for their vision for north east Victoria’s land, water, biodiversity and community resources.

The web-based RCS was approved by the Victorian Minister for Water, Lisa Neville in April and is now available at https://northeast.rcs.vic.gov.au.

The North East Catchment Management Authority (CMA) led development of the RCS, but the whole-of-region strategy is not owned by any single organisation. It has been developed collaboratively with Traditional Owners/First Nations, community, Landcare and other government agencies.

North East CMA Strategy Investment & Evaluation Coordinator, Lachlan Thomas, said the development of the RCS took an engaging and learning driven approach to capture the aspirations of the community, Traditional Owners/First Nations and other organisations in natural resource management.

“By incorporating different types of knowledge and developing new partnerships, the RCS is well placed to support new ways of working, seek new investment and progress priority directions within landscapes and communities,” Mr Thomas said.

North East CMA Chair Chris Cunningham said she was excited to support the CMA and its delivery partners in implementing the RCS.

“The renewed Regional Catchment Strategy reflects the histories, interests and aspirations of north east Victoria. The strategy will act as a guide for delivering on natural resource management priorities and support the development of landscape resilience in the region,” Ms Cunningham said.

The renewal of the North East RCS has seen the development of a series of vision statements for north east Victoria. These statements reflect the long-term vision to 2050 for the four themes of land, water, biodiversity and community, and for eight local landscapes.

Those visions are:

  • Land – A diversity of healthy, liveable and productive landscapes managed sustainably.
  • Water – Our waterways are valued, healthy and adaptively managed; supporting environmental, cultural, recreational and economic values.
  • Biodiversity – Biodiversity in north east Victoria is protected, improved, and valued for its cultural, social and environmental significance.
  • Community – A diverse and connected community caring for and stewarding north east Victoria’s landscapes.

Established by the Victorian Government to provide to provide a blueprint for NRM at a regional level, the RCS has evolved to consider how people and place are entwined, what drives change and how to deal with opportunities and threats to create resilient landscapes.

Public consultation for the draft North East RCS was undertaken in the second half of 2021, including online workshops and an online survey.

The North East CMA is responsible for monitoring and reporting on the RCS. This allows tracking of progress against the outcomes and priority directions for land, water, biodiversity and community.

The process promotes continuous improvement through the collection, analysis and evaluation of data and information on natural resources in the north east region.

A new feature in the 10 Victorian 2021-27 Regional Catchment Strategies is the inclusion of a Prospectus. The Prospectus describes priority projects that can help achieve the strategy’s shared goals.

This allows the North East RCS to be used as a tool to stimulate and influence future funding programs from the Australian and Victorian Governments and other sources, generating opportunities for organisations and projects in each region.

The production of the Regional Catchment Strategies as websites allows a statewide overview and enables them to be virtually available to anyone, anywhere or any time.

Two photographs are included which were among winning entries in the My Favourite Place competition during public consultation for the new North East RCS.

Pic 1 – Wodonga from Federation Hill. Picture by Elisa Tack

Pic 2 – Ovens River at Bright. Picture by Martyn Paterson

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