Land clearing, fragmentation of vegetation, weeds, pest animals, conflicting land use and climate change are some of the issues highlighted for discussion as part of the process to update the North East Regional Catchment Strategy (RCS).
North East Catchment Management Authority (CMA) chief executive officer, Katie Warner, said there was no better time to plan for north east Victoria and its communities.
“These challenges – and others – and how they affect what we value and how we work to create a sustainable future, needs to be planned for locally and together,” Ms Warner said.
“That’s why we need a whole-of-community input into the RCS.”
Funded by the Victorian Government, the North East RCS is a blueprint for natural resource management for north east Victoria.
It considers how people and place are entwined, what drives change and how to deal with opportunities and threats to create resilient landscapes within the region. Priorities, targets and actions included in the North East RCS provide an overarching framework to guide natural resource management planning and investment in local government, government agencies and community groups for the next six years.
Ms Warner said during the past seven months, Traditional Owners/First Nations, partner agencies, stakeholders and the community had shared their thoughts, views and information, culminating in the compilation of the Insights Paper released last week.
“The Insights Paper is the opportunity to share and test the inputs and perceptions received so far,” she said.
“It summarises our catchment condition, what is changing in the region, and what it means moving forward, including some challenges and opportunities to build a more resilient future for north east Victoria.”
North East CMA will now lead engagement on the Insights Paper, aiming to receive further insights from the community that will inform a draft North East RCS.
Ms Warner said to ensure the North East RCS reflects the interests and priorities of those who live, work, visit and connect with north east Victoria, the community and all stakeholders were now being asked for feedback to the Insights Paper.
“We are developing targets and actions to address the challenges and opportunities for north east Victoria, ahead of writing the draft Strategy,” she said.
“We are asking people to tell us how well the Insights Paper captures the shared values, aspirations, drivers, trends, challenges, and opportunities for our region.”
A series of online workshops will be held throughout March and an online survey is open until 9 April 2021.
Full details of the engagement activities and how to register are included on the NECMA website at https://www.necma.vic.gov.au/Projects/Current-projects/North-East-Regional-Catchment-Strategy-RCS-Update.
Documents including the Insights Paper, the North East RCS End of Term Review, the 2020 Socio-Economic Study and the North East RCS Fact Sheet can be downloaded at the same webpage.