How should natural resources be managed in South Australia?

Check out the Discussion Paper, the Executive Summary and the Frequently Asked Questions and have your say on how you believe natural resources should be managed to help us shape the new Landscape South Australia Bill.

Comments closed

Herbie Glacken

15 Oct 2018

There is a massive wild dog problem in the Pastoral Properties throughout SA. There needs to be a minimum standard set by ALL Pastoral Station Owners whether it be tourism, mining or livestock. We need to have a minimum standard of at least 1000 ground baits per year per property and not rely on aerial baiting programs alone. If there was a minimum compulsory standard then we will be a step closer to to minimising the risks that livestock owners face daily.

neil collins

15 Oct 2018

The new Landscape South Australia Bill is an opportunity for a review of the current process and keep the good and improve the parts not working as well as they could. I really support the process the Minister has undertaken with independent consultants talking to people all round the state. Its a good start.

Points Summary:

Enabling greater leadership by Aboriginal peoples
Having been associated with Aboriginal groups managing their own lands the reform aims are encouraging
• SA has the only full Aboriginal Board in Australia and it is a model that other first nations around the world can see works and should not be lost. A change without good reason that the first Nations people see is real sends the wrong message
• Have Aboriginal representation on all Boards and a way of these leaders getting together with other program areas (health, employment, community programs) regularly to help the Ministers chart direction would be to the Government and communities advantage
• All Landscape Boards need an achievable Aboriginal employment target as part of Boards measurable targets and have a long term employment strategy with Board programs
• Getting on country is one of the biggest issues for Aboriginal groups and cost effective support options are needed. Use lateral thinking. Local, interstate, international models exist to achieve this in a cost effective way
• There is a need for a long term strategy with many partners – no one can fund it all to support Aboriginal landholders and Nations achieve what they want on the ground
• Support cultural links to land as part of managing natural resource issues
• Inter-generational knowledge transfer is a legitimate use of LANDSCAPE resources

Resilient communities;
• There is a need for a long term strategy with many partners – no one can fund it all as the Minister has shown with the Cleland redevelopment. No one will give funds to government – let the Boards have their own budget at arm’s length from the Department so they can chase down partners and NGO support for programs.
• The issue with the NRM process when it came under government and lost independent Boards was the loss of autonomy and “can do today” because of the red tape and bureaucratic ways of government. Set the direction, have sensible monitoring tools (ie $30000 for Auditing costs for each Board in 2014 was a ridiculous waste given the budget size) and give them their budget to manage and use as a kick start to get other funds in.
• An independent Board head (really think about what the title should be to give it status) will have more status to talk directly to industry heads.
• Let the Boards look for the opportunities and be flexible and dynamic – keeping the Minister informed so there are no surprises.
• By all means have Board members elected but have the skill base required as prerequisites to ensure considered decisions on natural resource issues and community involvement are made.
• We are losing the inter-generational battle. How many of our children know why we need to look after the land? Give them a real voice at the table (as a board member or sponsored by a Board member) and as part of an education alliance. Having the environment in the psychic of the next generation of leaders and environmental outcomes will be part of the normal risk management of doing business.

Vibrant biodiversity and sustainable economy:
• This is a real opportunity to link all natural resource environmental legislation to the Landscape program and make it clearer for the community so there is really a streamlined program for getting projects going
• Link university biodiversity research supported by 3 tiers of government to Board outcomes that reflect state and national biodiversity outcomes
• LANDSCAPE Boards can have a landscape overview about a sustainable economy based on a vibrant biodiversity if the right skills are represented on the board.
• It will be much better ecologically and economically if cross regional funding can be undertaken for high priority landscape programs
• Enable landscape natural resource links to sister programs in Australia and Internationally to flourish (as with sister city programs for local government)
• Really ensure that NGOs and the Boards have the support to work together to develop a landscape with resilience to climate change.

More detail on points:

Enabling greater leadership by Aboriginal peoples

SA has the only full Aboriginal Board in Australia and it is a model that other first nations around the world can see works and should not be lost. Aboriginal representation on all Boards and a way of these leaders getting together regularly to help the Minister chart direction would be to the Governments advantage and issues can discussed early. It is a privileged for all members of the Boards to be there so if any member does not meet their obligations deal with this through governance and support – not through changes in regulation.

Work with Aboriginal communities to get on ground and employment outcomes. Get local employment going, look at some of the groups working in industry and looking after land around Australia and see the common threads. Employment in real jobs, training that lead to that employment that has both skill and mentoring backup, managing their own businesses and learning to contract, being accountable and having access to work sites, integration of other programs, understanding of external issues that may affect performance.
There is a need for a long term strategy with many partners – no one can fund it all to support Aboriginal landholders and Nations to achieve what they want to achieve on the ground. Without a long term employment strategy the current knowledge will be lost as the intergenerational knowledge is dying out, people can’t get out on county, and as with other parts of society the link to the land is going.
The AW NRM region used to have an Aboriginal employment target and the support team had to report on their progress to achieve this target. This should be across all regions and “unless you can measure it you can’t meet a target” needs to be part of the new LANDSCAPE approach. It doesn’t need to be a large target to start with but it needs to be there or things wont change.

Why do we need to spend so much of the limited funding available on leases of new cars when with links to TAFE we could have older cars fixed by TAFE courses, certified as road worthy and out there being used and put funds where they are really needed - to employ people and provide materials.

There are great examples around SA and Australia and First Nations around the world of really good work done and where good work can be done if the right support is given. (ie see work done in the far west coast of SA, on the Coorong, up on the Murray River, IPA programs in the APY Lands, in the mountain ranges of Queensland, the blue mountains, on the barrier reef, Vancouver Island biosphere, Bolivia floating reed communities)

Resilient communities;

The issue with the NRM process when it came under a government department and not independent Boards filled with local expertise was the loss of autonomy and “can do today” because of the red tape and bureaucratic ways of government. It is a safer way to tie things up in red tape but if you really want a change let the people linked to the earth get on with it and have the LANDSCAPE Act there to advise and find ways to achieve what the community wants.

The Boards need energy and the “can do” people there to help the LANDSCAPE process. You want dynamic people there who know their time is not wasted as busy people have too much to do to be on a Board that does little. Not saying this is the case now – there is a need to take a calculated risk, give the Boards the right governance tools and have some mandatory reporting requirements and then let the Boards achieve the outcomes their way and support them. While it is good to have advice – knowledge builds from many sources and government advice should be just that – advice to consider.

Look for the opportunities and be flexible and dynamic. (ie where is the Twiggy Forrest Aboriginal employment program in NRM in SA?) BHP funds many programs – where is a coordinated approach to linking them to employment programs for the long term in natural resource landscape management that will help them meet their rehabilitation and offset targets.

While it is good to have advice – knowledge builds from many sources and government advice should be just that – advice to consider.

We are losing the inter-generational environmental battle. How many of our children know why we need to look after the land? There are shining examples of youth doing good work to support sustainable programs but where is their voice – how will the reforms give them a real voice – not just linked to the charity of a board but a real voice at the table and part of an education alliance to get the environment back into the psychic of the next generation of leaders so the environmental outcomes are part of the risk management of doing business.
The Boards need to be able to take up matters with the Minister independently of the support network they have – not through that network. In this way the Minister gets the message direct (as hard as it maybe to receive) and both parties can work towards bettering the natural resource issues of the state

Let the Boards get links to funders and have this as a measurable requirement. An independent Board head (really think about what the title should be to give it status) will have more status to industry heads.

Vibrant biodiversity and environmental change;

A lot of work has been done by existing Boards in this area. Plans are there – they may need some more consultation but issues appear more about implementation and priorities on limited budgets than actual plan direction.

It is strongly recommended that if any review is to be done then do it in parallel and at a fixed budget and timeline or nothing will happen while the review occurs and communities will be further disenfranchised.

thanks for the opportunity to comment.

Neil Collins

Lee Williams

15 Oct 2018

i hope all contributors to this reform look back in many years to come, with the destination in sight and the journey manageable.
we all need to take responsibility for how we impact our landscape. Owners, managers, observers and rule makers and community. In my conversations about the reform over the last couple of months. ONE big hurdle, compliance..came up time and time again.... same names, same issues..(as it has done for years.) This reform MUST address this. No-one person/company or agency should be able to blatantly disregard the rules, and not be made accountable. no-one should be able to pay their way out of non compliance. We all should be following the same rule book. Little gains, and great efforts from many can be compromised by a few. This is really important, many of our vulnerable and endangered species (including hard working humans)need our commitment to continue, and thrive, or become extinct, or see hard earnt money/income/levies/taxes wasted because we didn't put enough effort into effective compliance. Lets support and encourage all South Aussies to enjoy our landscape and environment, whether directly on ground or as decision makers. I agree with all contributors, we all want it to be nurtured and enhanced well into the future, good leadership and clear direction, precise goals and a bit of reflection along the way, to address any "fix ups" necessary. Minister Speirs and to all present and future new board members, current and future department staff, and the future Minister of the day, please sort the compliance backlog!!! this needs to happen to go forward.
Lee Williams

Gayl Males

15 Oct 2018

There have been some amazing, well thought out and considered comments on the proposed changes and it is great that people have taken the opportunity to have their say. Many of these comments question how the new Boards will be elected - and maybe we should ask at what cost - and that questions if those with vested or business/commercial interests and are well known in the community because of their high profile will be elected. Will the bigger picture be the focus, or will they be elected on platforms that suit their own purposes.

People are not bound by where they physically live but also have an strong interest in where they have other connections - with particular national parks or conservation areas, they may visit regularly the same region, they may own or rent holiday houses, or they travel long distances to participate in conservation activities, for example. What opportunities will they have for input?

Protecting our biodiversity, and in particular our threatened plant and animal species, should be a priority - extinction is forever and sadly Australia leads the way in losing species. Natural habitat retention and protection is critical, and supporting land managers to provide corridors must be encouraged, and opportunities to live with our unique wildlife must be encouraged even when there are issues - find solutions that work rather than, for example, burying wombats alive or shooting/poisoning eagles. Do we want our children and their children to only see native animals in wildlife parks or a few protected, isolated conservation zones. Without enough natural habitat more animals will continue to become endangered or go extinct.

I trust that the big picture of natural resource management will consider biodiversity protection, climate change, what currently works under the existing system with plenty of positive interaction from NRM staff with the community with their knowledge and commitment, and tweak those areas needing more work. I hope the proposed Boards won't just look at their local issues but interact with each other so that landscape management really is a single entity across the whole state, as many issues cannot be simply managed by arbitrarily drawn boundaries.

Thank you for giving concerned people the opportunity to have their say on this important issue.

Ruth Sommerville

15 Oct 2018

There are many areas of concern within this reform. The intent of increasing the landscape scale focus and fostering a autonomous and decentralised local delivery arm for encouraging sustainable environmental management is a good one. However the current proposal is structural change for changes sake. The current model of the NRM Boards, that are locally based and private land focused, and the Department of Environment and Water, which is state and public land focused working together as one delivery organisation has had significant landscape scale outcomes for the Northern and Yorke Region. It has resulted in a unified approach to managing Pest and Weed populations across boundaries, developed landscape scale restoration projects and created a one stop shop for the community to engage in environmental management issues and enquiries. The centralisation of administration was a significant downfall of this amalgamation, but this could be ratified without the complete re-design of the system. The current NRM Boards do undertake regular, thorough and transparent strategic and business planning and this has not been acknowledged. The current board members are currently local community members, who are appointed by the minister but do nominate from the community they wish to represent. To undertake elections for this type of role will be costly and engagement by the community will be low.
I work with a number of sustainable agriculture and landcare groups and the amalgamated model has significantly improved the ease of engaging with the NRM board. There is a new hub of environmental and sustainable agriculture groups that has been created in Clare and this would not have been possible without the unified delivery model that has been operated for the past few years. Landscape scale restoration projects are now working on both National Parks and adjoining private land to significantly improve the outcomes of these projects. By separating the agencies again the cross boundary network that has been established will be threatened.
I am concerned by the proposed boundary changes for the Northern and Yorke Region. Although not specified in any of the documentation, a significant issue for a consultation process, it was mentioned at the engagement session held in Clare that the northern and southern boundaries for the NY region are under proposal to me moved. It was suggested that the southern boundary may move to remove the Clare and Gilbert Valley Council area and/or the Wakefield Regional Council to make the Adelaide Plains region more substantial. These two council areas make up the majority of the population of the Northern and Yorke and as such would have significant impacts on the functionality of the Northern and Yorke Region. The town of Clare is also a significant regional centre that if removed from the region would have a major impact on recruitment and engagement in the future board activities. On the northern boundary, to remove the town of Port Augusta and its coastline would not make logical sense for either the Arid Lands or the NY region, the issues faced in this proposed region align to those of the NY region, not those faced by Arid Lands.
There have been many significant outcomes from our local NRM Board/DEWNR over the past 5 years and I feel that the documentation supporting the LandscapeSA reform does not acknowledge the work undertaken by the staff and community and undermines their actions of the past 5+yrs. There appears to be a focus on creating a new model of delivery rather than on review and modification of the current model which is starting to function well in our region after significant change in governance and delivery. Review and modification of programs and their delivery model is always a good process if undertaken with engaged stakeholders; change for the sake of change with undermining of past practices and lack of clarity around proposals and desired objectives has the potential to cost significantly both financially and in lost staff and communities.

Ruth Sommerville

15 Oct 2018

There will be confusion created by the name and resulting website due to a similarly branded SA based organisation, The Master Landscapers of SA

Government Agency

Landscape Reform Team > Ruth Sommerville

15 Oct 2018

Many thanks for pointing this out to us Ruth. We will ensure our communications and engagement team are aware.

Sara Hourez

15 Oct 2018

My experience with our local Natural Resources Management Board has been positive. There has been enthusiastic community involvement and wide community support for its broad range of successful projects. Many of these projects involved private landowners, local organisations and businesses, while others, such as Kangaroo Island Community Education, recently won a national award 'Best Regional School' by presenting their very successful partnership in their nomination. NRM projects have been embraced by the KI community in general and every annual report supports this statement. The only difficulty I have had was with the intimate involvement created between KI Natural Resources Management Board and Department of Environment and Water, the intertwining of resources, and the 'contractual' arrangements between the two entities.

Landscape SA offers to separate the two entities, providing clear delineation and thus, the community is able to determine, identify and recognise the valuable contribution both make, in very different ways, in the protecting our environment be it agricultural or natural.

It is good to see that the discussion paper outlines the need for continued focus on bio-security (weeds, feral animals, diseases); re-vegetation; improving soil quality and water resources although marine pests, over-abundant native animals, habitat management, and innovation in farming practices are not mentioned. Bio-security is particularly important as once compromised, a very expensive operation to reverse.

It is important to mention that unfortunately KI is already losing, due to funding delays and government red-tape, the very people who have the expert skills and abilities to lead and advise. In addition to this, when families leave a remote and isolated location the whole community suffers, economically and socially.

Management Plan:
KI Natural Resources Management Board recently went through a thorough and extensive community consultation process to produce its regional management plan. A thorough document, The Plan provides not only evidence of extensive consultation but a comprehensive guide to locally identified priorities. This is a valuable and useful document not mentioned, nor referred to, in the discussion paper.

Climate Change:
Climate is mentioned three times in the 30 page document, that is, 'climate change', 'changing climate' and 'climatic changes'. This implies ignorance or at least, shortsightedness.

Many of the statements made in the discussion paper are misleading as they are not supported by evidence, for example, the section - 'Why is reform necessary?' implies NRM work to date didn't target issues, didn't have partnerships, was unsuccessful, and failed to apply 'best available scientific, traditional and local knowledge along with a clear understanding of the community's aspirations..' This is clearly incorrect and somewhat disingenuous.

In other sections, such as 'community-led landscape management', there are statements promising 'greater', 'simpler', 'more substantial', 'more focus', 'less money spent' which are influential words but there is no evidence to support that care and due diligence was ever missing in the first place. This weakens the argument for the discussion paper.

Distance from government:
Distance from government is stressed throughout the discussion paper so how will this work for Kangaroo Island? Currently there is intimate involvement and administrative cross-over with DEW as KINRMB does not employ staff. As KI levy funding is so low, some $385k pa, how will this work effectively without increasing state supplementation? How will this iconic location, one of the national's huge environmental draw cards, be supported?

Board Membership:
I have some concerns regarding the proposed membership of the Landscape Boards. If an election process is undertaken then there is a distinct possibility that a person may campaign and be elected on a platform. This means that the collaborative and efficient operation of any NRM Board, as was my experience on Kangaroo Island, may be compromised by single issues.

It is unclear whether Board Members must be residents, and thus whether local knowledge along with skills, abilities and expertise, will be a prerequisite in the acceptance of nominations. There is a real possibility of non-residents having a major say in Board decisions.

General Comments:
I note that when the environment is mentioned it is consistently last in the phrase 'economic, social and environmental' as if the environment doesn't underpin all economic activity.

I wrote to the organisers and requested the local community forum be held outside of business hours so that more community members could be involved. Short notice aside, I also noticed that all the community forums right across the state were held from 2 - 5pm on a weekday effectively disenfranchising the majority of community members. This is not engagement.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide my comments.

Gayl Males > Sara Hourez

15 Oct 2018

Very well said, Sara. You've hit the nail on the head on most of the points raised.

Government Agency

Landscape Reform Team > Sara Hourez

15 Oct 2018

This is all really great feedback Sara - thanks for taking the time to provide this level of detail. Just to clarify the concern you raise with regard to engagement, we listened to the community who asked for forums out of business hours and arranged two new larger sessions (Marion and Grange) in the evening, we also held our youth community forum on a Saturday. While we recognise not all the times and dates would have suited everyone we did our best to be inclusive of the large number of people across the state interested in the reforms. Again, thanks for taking the time to provide your input - it is much appreciated.

Rose Dow

14 Oct 2018

NRM Education
I like many on this forum have had a long association with NRM Education as a Dept of Education teacher. I have outlined in detail how NRM education has benefited the schools and communities where I have worked and live in a more detailed email to the comments section.

I have seen how engaging and empowering it is for schools to have experienced expert KESAB and NRM staff in their classrooms. Over the past 10 years I have also benefited from the training NRM Education staff have provided teachers. This training has meant instead of one off lessons delivered by NRM Education staff once every year, teachers have been trained to develop units of work and embed education for sustainability into their curriculum. As a classroom teacher I have benefited from quality resources produced by NRM staff and also materials teachers in classrooms have collaboratively produced with NRM Ed support.

The schools where I have taught over the past 10 years have become AuSSI-SA schools and developed a School Environment Development Plan. The AuSSI model is most effective and NRM Education staff have supported and resourced schools to put their sustainability vision into practice. The effectiveness of this support is considerable and the statements from the 330 current 2017 AuSSI-SA schools provide great evidence of their success.

I’ve also participated in grant applications and sought funding for resource development. These include Ant, Water Macro-Invertebrates, Butterfly Garden and Fungi resources. Last year with the support of a NRM AMLR Community Grant I with my local Our Patch group invited lead ecologist Sapphire McMullan Fisher to run a series of fungi workshops and events. In mid winter we hosted over 100 for a public talk and an Education Forum with 50 participants was held. ABC, Behind the News filmed Vale Park Primary students’ with Sapphire sharing the amazing qualities fungi have with a national audience school audience. A teachers PD was run and promoted by NRM Education and Fungi Forays were hosted at our Wildflower Walk at Vale Park. From the interest generated, two fungi kits for schools to borrow were produced by NRM Ed. Further workshops with Sapphire were organised this year by the Murray Darling Basin NRM community members. None of this would have been possible without funding and the many partnerships that have been fostered and encouraged over many years with NRM Education and Natural Resources Adelaide and Mt Lofty.

With the knowledge, training, support networks and lots of experimenting Vale Park our Patch is now sharing their woodland successes with other groups across the state. A range of valuable brochures sponsored by Natural Resources AMLR and Walkerville Council provide information on native plants to inform the community and local school students. Understanding more about the inter-relationships between, soil, fungi, plants and animals has been integral to the success of the Our Patch sites we have at Vale Park and Gilberton.

With the successful reintroduction of native orchids and understory native plants we are also noticing an increase in biodiversity especially native insects and birds. The guided planting of a range of local native plants under remnant eucalypts has improved food sources and protection for native animals.

Students at our local schools of Walkerville and Vale Park are also involved in building on our success through their water investigations and boosting biodiversity within their school and local communities. Through an NRM Ed grant students have planned and planted a Butterfly garden within the school. Through partnerships with the local Vale Park Our Patch they have extended their involvement into the local community by planting additional native gardens. These are being monitored and students are noticing the effects of weather and what strategies they can put into place so their gardens have a good chance of surviving. The students are wanting to boost biodiversity in their community and are proud of what they've already achieved.

We have noticed this year more small woodland birds visiting gardens near the river. Birds like the Grey Fantail, Eastern Spinebill and Golden Whistlers that have been rarely spotted for decades in our inner city gardens. We believe local flowering gardens and native planting areas (like our VPOP patches, and the Billabong at St Peters) where a diversity of local native plants are being grown are acting as a refuge for a number of Adelaide Hills woodland birds. As the climate changes, our seasons are dryer and there are increased fires (controlled burns and bushfires) we would be wise to support the trailing and monitoring of plant, animal and fungi biodiversity within our regions. To loose even more of our local fauna and flora would be sad reflection on our state and our priorities.

An investment in NRM Education and all this small group has already accomplished is such great value. The networks and partnerships they have established are impacting schools and their communities around the state. For the young people in our schools who look to the future and want to be part of the solution there is much to be done together. NRM Education invests in the future by encouraging student voices to be heard and giving them opportunities to plan and take wise actions at home, school and the broader community. Landscaping SA would be wise to generously fund NRM Education so they can continue with the empowering work they do from which we all ultimately benefit.

Rose Dow

14 Oct 2018

I too am coming to the discussion late. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get to any of the discussion forums. I do however appreciate the opportunity to have my say. As stated in your forward, South Australia’s unique natural resources underpin our communities, our economy, our well-being and our way of life, and we all have a responsibility to be stewards of our precious natural assets.
We would be wise to ensure the new Landscape South Australia Bill has provisions that protect our land and water systems and continue to restore them to benefit all South Australians into the future.

It is my concern when reading the Reform Executive Summary that although increased participation, transparency and responsiveness are being promoted there does not seem to be overarching policies in place with identified outcomes. It seems the nine landscape boards will operate independently, yet share major ecosystems within our state. I’m interested to know what the guiding principals are that will ensure there will be vibrant biodiversity, a sustainable economy and resilient communities. How will we know if soil and water quality improves, there is a reduction of pest animal and weed species and if there is an improvement in land and water biodiversity?

What measures, assessments, trials and monitoring will be put in place? If there are not monitoring and assessment procedures enacted by all nine boards how will there be the effective management of the states natural resources? As Paul Gibbs states we already have qualified people with a solid grasp of what is happening to our land and water systems and the life that depends on them. It makes a great deal of sense to draw on the experience and partnerships already existing many through NRM. Our schools have a current emphasis on STEM, Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology. Students are graduating from our universities with science degrees with the skills to monitor and assess soil and water health impacting on the health of our farmland and landscapes more broadly. What a great investment for our future to have South Australians working together to improve our land and water systems and doing the research, monitoring and trialing that are so required.
If we are to be leaders in the fields of climate adaptation, clean food production, land and water health our scientists, ecologists, researchers, farming and tourism businesses need employment opportunities. The future benefits to both our regional and urban communities will be significant with the capacity for us to export expertise, research and know how nationally and internationally.

Unfortunately as stated by others too there is no mention of climate change in this Natural Resources Reform Executive summary or how our state can mitigate against it. The Farmers Federation policy from 2017 states the following.
The National Farmers Federation recognises that climate change poses a significant challenge for Australian farmers. As a nation, we must act to ensure that our economy is well placed to cost efficiently reduce our national greenhouse gas emissions profile.
On the 27th of September, South Australian was officially declared in drought. “For months farmers across the state have reported some of the driest conditions in recent memory, many destocking and prematurely cutting crops while others face water and feed shortages. “ Sept 27th ABC online.
As we are dependent on our land and water systems it seems critical to me that climate change policy and actions to address and reduce its effects are included in the new Landscaping Bill.

As a volunteer who has given a great deal of voluntary time to my local Our Patch, Landcare and Friends of Parks Groups this has only happened because of the guidance, support and expertise or trained National Parks or NRM staff. Together we’ve accomplished a great deal but I’m concerned that without the staff who oversee programs, state priorities, regional targets, guidelines, training and support to groups like ours we will struggle to consolidate, grow and improve local biodiversity and weed control into the future.

Already under the previous government environment jobs were cut significantly.
It seems to me there is no better time for us to invest in our natural environment. We would be wise to seek, as you are, the guidance of those who have a vested interest in the health of our state’s natural resources. Long-term environmental and economic decisions are required so our biodiversity thrives and our farming businesses survive. Without healthy and resilient water and land systems all of our communities will suffer, urban, regional and pastoral. The legislation put in place now has the potential to do a great deal of good, but also long term damage.
Thank you for providing South Australians the opportunity to contribute to this forum.

Alex Lourie

13 Oct 2018

Natural Resource Centres do a great job educating us, local residents, about environment and I would like the government to continue funding them and even increase their funding. During this year me and my family participated in many events organised by Willunga Environment Centre and I believe it is highly important to teach people and especially young generation to care about our nature and creating in all of us a sense of belonging, connection and responsibility for the environment we live in.

anonymous respect

10 Oct 2018

Since the Crown land Management Act 2009 (CLM Act) conditions were placed on all South Australian Councils in relation to the care, control and management
of dedicated land under the Crown Land Management Act 2009. This was suppose to be
updated the schedules and items of councils Community Land Management Plan (CLMP). The CLM Act states "...
management plan must be consistent with any relevant regional NRM plan adopted under the
Natural Resources Management Act 2004".

Therefore, you have erected a misleading and intimating Landscape SA Act, as there is no evidence the CLM Act is being amended to reflect the above and this would be deliberate to remove environmental responsibilities the government hated for so long.

Debra Simmons

09 Oct 2018

I would like to participate in a 'magnet fishing' competition along the banks of the Murray River each year. Prizes for biggest - weirdest - oldest etc... catch could be offered and towns along the river could offer bankside attractions. A TV show could be made from funny or interesting things that happened during the event, that were filmed by participants and a prize could also be offered for the favourite.

anonymous respect

09 Oct 2018

Comment deleted as it does not comply with our Community Guidelines.

YourSAy Admin

anonymous respect > anonymous respect

10 Oct 2018

The Social license to be here in existence is a real issue for the government and corporate industry in Australia, isnt it.

Paul Maraun

09 Oct 2018

I only ask one thing. If we have to have these levies taxes whatever at least have the courtesy to tell us what OUR money is being used for.
I am totally sick of the NRM/ESL funds disappearing into some amorphous fund somewhere and no accountability from the Government or the organisation.

richard STOTT

08 Oct 2018

The NRM is just duplicating roles that already exist. Farmers are paying a levy on grain produced and wool and animals. These levies pay for research done by the GRDC, Dept. Primary Industries and many more organisations. I think this Board and The NRM should be dissolved and we go back to the days before jobs were created that are not needed. Soil health and other aspects of keeping our farms healthy is in farmers best interest. The land-Care and Greening Australia planted our denuded areas.

Robert Lawrence

06 Oct 2018

Regarding: Grassroots Grants program
Having been involved with grants administration in two universities, having been on selection committees for a granting scheme for a NGO and having won an Envirofund grant and a Citizen Science grant, I would like to give my perspective on the proposed scheme.

Grants are important as a means of giving incentive to people in the community to get involved in the environment and to provide financial support to make projects more effective. A grant can get a new project started or make a huge difference to an existing project.It is important that grants end up making a real contribution toward a larger vision. Funding should reflect the environmental benefit. Projects for the on-ground protection of rare species would generally be more important than a large project in a degraded urban area.

The boundaries between regions become irrelevant with grants. Many in the city have passion for areas far and wide. People should be able to apply for grants beyond where they reside or even hold property. Likewise, they should be able to vote for a proposal outside of their area. For example, I wanted to vote for a project on Kangaroo Island recently because it was the most effective proposal I knew of, but was not eligible to vote. A whole range of projects could be worth funding, including on-ground pest-control, monitoring, citizen science, education and community engagement.

Somebody complained, at the workshop I attended, about the difficulties of ethics approval. Such things can't really be compromised. Some projects need to be managed through institutions or NGOs with adequate funding to cover the administration. Thus, universities and NGOs would need to be eligible to apply, possibly depending on having a community partner.

The distribution of grant funds should not be a reflection of the skill of the applicants. The significance needs to be taken into account. Significance could be the long-term benefit of controlling or eradicating a pest, increasing the viability of threatened species or communities or increasing community awareness and involvement in landscape management.

Government Agency

Landscape Reform Team > Robert Lawrence

08 Oct 2018

This is really helpful and well considered feedback Robert - thank you. Thanks also for coming along to the Marion community forum last week, we trust you found it useful. All of the advice you have provided will be given further consideration.

Robert Lawrence

05 Oct 2018

Regarding: Electing board members and community engagement
The hard thing to conceive is how to have a process for the community to select its representatives and for the community to be engaged with the management of landscapes. I see the two could happen together.

The really difficult aspect of democracy is for the people eligible to vote getting to know the candidates well enough to choose who they want to vote for. The one-paragraph approach used for selecting board members, such as for the RAA or building societies, is quite inadequate from a voter's perspective. The ideal way to get to know candidates is to see what they say and how they perform while discussing the issues. There needs to be an open forum in which people do get involved. This could be in social media or a printed newsletter. This way people could see who they would like to have speaking on their behalf. I guess people might need to be invited to comment on controversial issues. This would not just happen. A team of people would need to be employed to facilitate discussions and keep them moving on different topics and in different regions.

One of the things that came out of the discussion at the workshop at Marion was that people are not bound by where they live. People may live in the city and have a property in the hills or near the Murray. Others travel to the Flinders to treat Wheel Cactus. Some visit Kangaroo Island to do conservation work. These people should be able to have a say in what happens in the regions where they work or volunteer. We want to have a say about threatening processes such as goats in arid lands, moss-rock extraction in the eastern side of the Lofty Ranges and the grazing impact of over-abundant kangaroos across the Adelaide hills. While I live in the city, the biodiversity of the city does not matter as much to me as that of the surrounding area, including the adjacent ocean that we have a great impact on. So all South Australians should be eligible to vote for board members in any region that interests them.

A measure of whether landscape management is being effective is the degree to which moss-rock extraction and its impact is documented and controlled. This would be a great issue to kick off a discussion to involve the community. There are people who have felt that they have been silenced on this issue. Making this issue public would bring people out to have their say and could change the way that community engagement is done in this state.

Michela Skipp

05 Oct 2018

I think we should have a focus on continuing to develop a strong and robust recycling system for the state. Having recently finished my research project I found a lot of Australian's lack an understanding of what can and can't be recycled and how to present recyclables. Recycling contamination has been minimized though education programs in schools which has definitely been an effective strategy. I would really like to see a continued push to get more businesses on board with better waste management programs.

Managing the global commons is one of the most important environmental issues facing Australia. It is also particularly relevant to managing climate change as a large portion of emissions comes from these industries. Being a developed nation, Australia has a large impact on the climate through the carbon and methane emissions into the atmosphere. Society will have to make some major changes to mitigate the impacts of climate change in the energy and industrial and mining sectors.

I believe recycling and being smarter about how we use resources will help alleviate climate change and aid in the transition to a circular economy. The major problem with the current economy is we end up with an absurd amount of wasted resources which are not recycled and continue to consume more resources. I think it is very important to resource the global commons more sustainably and to use those resources much more carefully.

I commend the NRM board on all their hard work and particularly NRM education has been a very valuable contribution to my current understanding and knowledge of the environment having been involved in the YEC program.

Government Agency

Landscape Reform Team > Michela Skipp

08 Oct 2018

Hi Michela, thanks for your feedback regarding the state's recycling system. You will be interested to know that the State Government, through the agency Green Industries SA, is supporting South Australia’s work in recycling and resource recovery and transitioning the state to a more circular economy. Green Industries SA is focussing on measures to build the resilience and capabilities of our local industry through infrastructure investment, market development, education, innovation and procurement. Some of the programs being supported through Green Industries SA address many of the topics you have raised. These include:

• Infrastructure grants for local government and industry to maintain and build the capacity of South Australia’s recycling systems and reprocessing infrastructure.
• Market development grants to stimulate an increase in the quality and market demand for recyclable materials and recycled content products.
• Support for a state-wide education campaign to maintain the community’s faith in the recycling process and help to reduce contamination levels through consistent messages which will ensure better quality recyclable material enters the recycling system.
• A Business Sustainability Program which helps businesses understand and support the transition towards a more circular economy. Financial assistance is available to individual businesses and industry groups requiring specialist expertise in the areas of resource efficiency (materials, energy and water), waste management and lean production.

For further information, please visit On this site you will also find a copy of South Australia’s Waste Strategy 2015-2020, which may be of interest.

Thanks for taking the time to provide your feedback.

Melinda Brindle

04 Oct 2018

Sorry, I'm coming to this discussion late, but I would like to support the great work of the Adelaide and Mt Lofty NRM in the support and advocacy of the Living Smart program across SA in 2016, 2017, 2018. The NRM worked closely with sections of SA Govt. to develop the training modules that were the foundations of education provided to communities, with the support of local government councils and a group of committed facilitators. Living Smart is an integrated and holistic training program - including water, waste, transport, energy, and more - promoting sustainable living and helping people to achieve this in their own homes & communities. I would not like to see the new arrangements lose this ability to provide integrated and holistic community education and support. The type of education is very important in our changing world.

Government Agency

Landscape Reform Team > Melinda Brindle

10 Oct 2018

Hi Melinda. Thank you for sharing this reflection. Adelaide and Mt Lofty NRM have piloted and delivered a growing number of programs in this arena, so its great to see that it is appreciated and being offered by the community as a tactic that is wanted into the future.

Julie Jordan

04 Oct 2018

I wish to comment in support of the valuable contribution that the Willunga Environment Centre makes in the Fleurieu region. They provide a wide range of activities for all age groups and act as a resource and provider for many community projects and activities. Any changes to the system must see the continued funding of this valuable community centre.

Government Agency

Coast Protection Board

04 Oct 2018

Coast Protection Board submission on Natural Resources Management reform (Landscape SA), September 2018.

Shortcomings and issues with the NRM system
• The localism of the old district arrangements for soils and pest plants and animals were lost and not regained by the regional arrangements.
• The integration of regional staff from boards and government, driven by budget constraints, was seen as a government takeover – the sentiment was partly driven by board and board-staff ownership and a reluctance to embrace a different arrangement.
• Farmers felt that they had lost traditional services when NRM was created. Coincidently, the state was withdrawing from its agricultural extension services.
• The planning and accountability arrangements were overly bureaucratic and difficult to navigate and understand.
• Loss of funding was attributed to NRM even though this was a government budget choice.
• The city-country divide was seen to be exaggerated by the NRM arrangements.
• Local government opposition to the levy promoted discord and antagonism.
• Not enough emphasis was given to the provision of extension staff at the local or district level.
• Some NR functions have not been integrated into the NRM model.

Not all of the complaints and concerns are attributable to the NRM arrangements and not all of these shortcomings are universal. Some relate to shifts in government policy – governments no longer funding agricultural production extension activities and other services now seen for private rather than public good. Some are attributable to local circumstance. The reduction in funding to natural resource management at both a state and Commonwealth level is independent of NRM arrangements. The broader cultural issue of city-rural division is driven by many factors and this plays out in an antagonism towards government generally.

Strengths of the NRM system
• Has operated for 14 years and slowly improved over time.
• Board members are generally respected and trusted in their communities.
• There are many practical achievements and successes.
• Water planning has progressed, and difficult water resource management issues tackled.
• The system has been accountable in terms of money spent and work done.
• Integrated NR planning provides the basis to make choices and set priorities.
• Unlike most other government services, a distributed staff presence has been maintained against many pressures.

There has been much to be positive about in the NRM system despite the bad press it has received over time. The challenge will be to retain the good and confront the shortcomings in the new arrangements.

Coastal Protection considerations in the new model

When NRM was established in 2004, a decision was made to retain the Coast Protection Act 1972 and to continue with a centralised Coast Protection Board. To begin with, NRM boards were preoccupied with establishment and other issues of priority. However, over time NRM boards began to integrate coastal management into their planning and recognised the special role of the Coast Protection Board. This arrangement has worked reasonably well with NRM Boards working with local government on coastal management issues and jointly funding works. The Coast Protection Board, in concert with the department, has been able to fulfil a leadership role with policy advice, specialised technical support and expertise, and providing strategic leadership on state-wide issues.

In a resource-constrained environment there is no room for duplication or overlap in function. Clarity of role and responsibility are essential. As the new Landscape model evolves there is a strong argument to retain the best features of the old and fashion them into the new.

It is hard to see an alternative to having centralised state-wide coastal management policy and technical capacity. A board may not be essential although there is considerable value in a single-focus authority that has a degree of independence from the departmental bureaucracy of government. Green Adelaide could be given the Coast Protection Board role, but it is additional to its metropolitan focus and inevitably will be an add-on rather than the first priority. Green Adelaide as it proposed could take on a metropolitan coastal coordination role for integrating coastal management across Councils, but the highly technical domain of sand management should be left to a government agency with the required expertise, support and direct line to a Minister.

As the Landscape model develops, one could expect all coastal landscape boards to have a coastal dimension but not to the same degree as Green Adelaide where metropolitan beaches are a much more significant part of the community landscape. The relationship with local government is crucial for many reasons not the least being that councils often have care and control of many coastal reserves.

To conclude, there is a very strong argument to retain a centralised technical and policy capacity that covers the entire state and supports the new Landscape arrangements. There is also a sound basis to continue with a centralised coastal authority. It does not need to be the Coast Protection Board but there does need to be an authority that has those functions as a primary emphasis.

Government Agency

Landscape Reform Team

03 Oct 2018

The closing date for submissions is fast approaching with less than two weeks left to go! Thanks to everyone for your continued feedback through this discussion forum. Please keep sending through your thoughts - all input is in the process of being considered.

Rod McKenzie

03 Oct 2018

I have an interest in sustainability and believe that our human presence on the earth can only be sustainable if we are educated about how to live sustainably. I hear many comments about the various coloured bins and their use which suggests that many people of the older generation failed in this area. SA is something of a national leader in the support of EfS through the Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative. The support provided by NRM Education and Kesab is vital to the continuation of this facet of education in SA.
NRM Education must be expanded and the Dept of Education directed to realign its curriculum delivery so that all students are equipped to understand and be prepared to live sustainable lives at home work and play. This should be a compulsory unit for all students and our young people should participate fully in the transition to a sustainable society and economy and the repair of past mistakes.

Government Agency

Landscape Reform Team > Rod McKenzie

04 Oct 2018

Thanks Rod for your input and support for the continuation of NRM Education programs. We have received overwhelming support and much positive feedback about NRM Education and will be taking this all into further consideration. Your advice is much appreciated.

nicky page

29 Sep 2018

I'm writing in support of the immeasurably valuable contribution that the Willunga Environment Centre makes in the Fleurieu region. Their activities are far too numerous to mention here, but suffice to say that they act as a resource and enabler for many, many community projects and activities which would be much less likely to happen without the support of the centre. The multiplier effect of any money invested in the Centre by the NRM would be extraordinary. But it would probably cost as much to investigate and calculate as to simply continue the core funding which adds so much to the environmental and community health of the region.

Government Agency

Landscape Reform Team > nicky page

04 Oct 2018

Hi Nicky, thanks so much for taking the time to provide your feedback. It's great to hear how valued the centre in Willunga is.

Dominica Thomson

24 Sep 2018

I have had the pleasure of being involved with NRM within the education setting for many years. I have been involved in grants for butterfly gardens, incursions, excursions and much more. NRM educators have supported my to write SEMPs and have delivered workshops to support teachers understanding of what they do and how the school I'm working at can be directly involved.
The educators work is invaluable to support schools become more sustainable. I really hope the reforms keep the inclusion of NRM educators and allow them flexibility within their roles to allow them to contextualise their work to the schools they are involved with.

Government Agency

Landscape Reform Team > Dominica Thomson

26 Sep 2018

Thank you for your comments Domenica. We have received a lot of comments regarding education which will all be taken into further consideration. We appreciate you taking the time to provide your input.