Information collection and dissemination




Status:

Advice provided

Advice date:

March 2009 to August 2013

Summary

The Commission has a specific function to gather and disseminate information on natural resource management (NRM) issues.

NRM Roundtable

The Local Land Services (LLS) reform in NSW aimed to create a stronger link between NRM and agricultural production within an integrated service' delivery model. These were likely to present new opportunities for how governments, landholders and communities invest in and manage NSW landscapes.

In June 2013, the Commission convened a NRM Roundtable that brought together individuals with leadership experience in Catchment Management Authorities (CMAs), agriculture, industry, community groups and academia to discuss:

  • progress and insights gained in 10 years of implementing regional NRM in NSW
  • opportunities for LLS to capitalise on best practice approaches
  • potential risks that may impact LLS NRM programs.

Key themes raised in discussion were:

  • Governance and leadership
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Strategic planning
  • Integrating NRM with farm-scale economics
  • Developing knowledge and evaluating outcomes.

The summary of discussion expands on these points, reflecting the diverse views of participants.

NRM Models and frameworks

The Commission engaged Rod Griffith and Associates to assist in a review of alternative NRM models. The review aimed at informing the debate over improvements to CMAs' governance both within the current legislative framework, in relation to the upcoming review of CMA legislation and the mid-term review of the standard, targets and catchment action plans.

In 2009, Rod Griffith and Associates provided a research paper informing that models in other countries are very similar to the range of models in use in Australia. The civic regionalism model that describes the current institutional arrangements and NRM governance framework in NSW, is a well worn path and probably the most dominant of the various decentralisation models.

Other findings and recommendations included:

  • No conceptually new models are evident that would invite unqualified recommendation for replacement of the statutory authority model in NSW.
  • A favouring of more polycentric models is evident among governance theorists. This is a trend already observed in practice in NSW NRM and is characteristic of the new Australian Government's Caring for our Country (CfOC) delivery model. Polycentricity is also reflected in adaptive governance and resilience thinking.
  • Adapting to new national polycentric CfOC arrangements and the uncertain social, economic and ecological challenges on the horizon will require a mindset shift and possibly some functional experimentation and adaptation. Provided the governance issues are attended to, these changes to thinking and practice can be accommodated within the statutory authority model.
  • The analysis suggested that none of the tried and true alternative decentralised models or the return to agency delivery would offer much advantage to NSW in the uncertain times ahead nor that significant structural change should be immediately implemented.

Key documents