NRM Standard and targets


Advice provided

Advice date:

May 2012


The Natural Commission Act 2003 requires us to recommend state-wide standards and targets for natural resources to the NSW Government.

In May 2005 after an extensive consultation (see below), we released a recommended standard and set of targets that aimed to build on the then existing frameworks for natural resource management (NRM) in NSW. These were widely recognised by stakeholders as a logical next step in the continuous improvement of NRM practices. The recommended standard and targets also provided an effective means of addressing the inherent complexities of NRM in a systematic and rigorous way.

In May 2005, the Government also asked us to recommend monitoring and evaluation arrangements to support the recommended state-wide targets.

In September 2005, after building on its past work, we recommended:

  • one Standard for Quality Natural Resource Management to help Catchment Management Authorities and other stakeholders work more effectively towards the state-wide goal and targets, by promoting consistent, high-quality NRM practices across NSW
  • one overarching goal for NRM which was a long-term vision for healthy, functional landscapes in NSW that supported the environmental, social, economic and cultural values of the community
  • thirteen state-wide targets for the key natural resource assets of biodiversity, water, land and community to ensure efforts at local, regional and state scales aligned with state-wide priorities, and provided a means of tracking progress
  • monitoring and evaluation to support state-wide targets
  • audit process to audit Catchment Management Authorities' compliance with the Standard to determine whether or not they achieved the required outcome for each component of the Standard.

The NSW Government adopted these standard and targets.

NSW has a strong model and supporting framework for NRM. Based on what was learned through implementing this model and framework for almost a decade, we believed some critical elements of the governance framework could be improved.

Therefore in May 2012, we recommended:

  • revised state-wide goal and targets
  • revised Standard for Quality Natural Resource Management including a governance component
  • monitoring, evaluation and reporting arrangements to support ongoing improvement, inform sound policy and evidence-based decision making, and assess progress against the state-wide targets
  • assessments and audits of regional catchment action plans to determine the quality of those plans, how effectively they are being implemented and what results are being achieved on the ground.

Key documents