Native Vegetation Council. Strategic Plan

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1 Native Vegetation Council Strategic Plan

2 Foreword From the Presiding Member The Native Vegetation Council (NVC) is established under the Native Vegetation Act 1991, and exists to further the objects of that Act. This NVC Strategic Plan articulates our mission, purpose, approach and contributions to supporting the objects of the Act. It provides the Native Vegetation Management Unit and the broader Department for Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) with a clear outline of the role the NVC will have into the future. It provides the framework that will guide how the NVC works over the next two years and beyond. Our vision is a community that is justifiably proud of its native vegetation and of the steps it is taking to enhance it. Over many years the natural environment has endured a wide range of challenges. Community, landholders, government, nongovernment organisations and volunteer networks have worked together tirelessly to respond to these challenges. Often this hard work is overlooked and vastly underestimated. Communities and landholders require support and resources to empower them to continue to protect and enhance native vegetation. They could also play a role in educating and invigorating others to care for native vegetation, particularly the rare, diverse and unique biodiversity intrinsic to our state. Biodiversity for the future and for future generations This NVC Strategic Plan maps out four priorities supported by specific strategies to be implemented over the next two years. Our focus will be on the following actions: Relationship management - Communication/establishing and strengthening relationships. Education and training - Sharing knowledge and encouraging innovation. Climate change - Research and science to enhance knowledge and adapt to change. Monitoring and evaluation - Monitoring the state of our biodiversity to educate and provide the importance of protection. The past year has been one of much change for the NVC and the Native Vegetation Management Unit. There remain significant challenges to implementing the strategic plan. For the plan to succeed we must be proactive about the future, improve performance, keep an open mind, solve major problems at a macro level and communicate what is most important. This document outlines the strategic business planning for the NVC for 2014 through to This strategy has been written to engage people about the fundamental role of the NVC and to increase awareness of the importance of native vegetation in South Australia. Presiding Member Native Vegetation Council Strategic Plan

3 Our Vision The Native Vegetation Council (NVC) provides balanced ecological, economic and social values to deliver the effective protection, maintenance and restoration of our native vegetation, and where an informed and knowledgeable community is justifiably proud of its native vegetation and of the steps it is taking to enhance it. Managing our natural environment is a continual requirement and responsibility for everyone, for the next generation. Our Mission The mission of the NVC is to: keep the condition of the native vegetation of the state under review advise the Minister in relation to: o the preservation, enhancement and management of native vegetation o the re-establishment of native vegetation on land where native vegetation has been cleared or degraded o research into the preservation, enhancement and management of native vegetation and the re-establishment of native vegetation on cleared land keep the principles of clearance of native vegetation under review and to advise the Minister of any changes to the principles that it considers are necessary or desirable determine applications for consent to clear native vegetation under Part 5 of the Native Vegetation Act 1991 (the Act) assess and respond to applications referred to the NVC under the Development Act 1993 encourage research into the preservation, enhancement and management of existing native vegetation encourage the re-establishment of native vegetation on land from which native vegetation has been cleared administer the Native Vegetation Fund pursuant to Division 3 of the Act carry out other functions as assigned to the NVC under this or any other Act. The NVC provides a broad range of stakeholder representation to provide a capacity to grow, learn and improve the understanding and management of our native vegetation. Strategic Plan

4 Our Values In addition to our principle functions under the Act, we aspire to be guided by the following values: We communicate effectively and work in an integrated way to focus our resources and optimise outcomes. We value and invest in our staff, volunteers, members and partners. We respect for Our Natural Environment and the past, present and future custodians. We seek constructive relationships with stakeholders by listening to their story, understanding their requirements and responding promptly and positively to their requests. We understand the value of native vegetation and support education, collaboration. We share and support community initiative. Learning is fundamental to effective environmental management. We value and support stakeholder participation in the protection and enhancement of our biodiversity on large and small scale projects. We value new knowledge and actively access it. We base our decisions on evidence. Our Priorities Relationship management Education and training Climate change Monitoring and evaluation Long-term constructive and respectful relationships with stakeholders for our mutual benefits Stakeholders understand the value of native vegetation and their role in enhancing it Effective and responsive support to stakeholders and the environment through climate change Robust monitoring and evaluation, characterised by efficiency, transparency and equity connect, listen and understand act collaborate educate and advise inform train consider adapt mitigate monitor evaluate report Strategic Plan

5 Relationship Management Our goal: Long-term constructive relationships with stakeholders for our mutual benefits Connect, listen and understand by: providing interactive opportunities based on mutual respect meeting with stakeholders in their territory providing diverse and engaging opportunities for stakeholders to connect with us operating integrated campaigns with common messages. Act with the community by: offering solutions so stakeholders can take action and make informed decisions providing information and direction to enable stakeholders to take positive action showing stakeholders how and why their actions make a difference, be it positive or negative showcasing and celebrating our conservation achievements as a tool to motivate further action. Collaborate by: providing access to better information and ideas providing opportunities for stakeholder empowerment encouraging discussion and dialogue. What success looks like Stakeholders are engaged in positive relationships with the NVC There is greater strategic alignment with stakeholders NVC decisions, policies, services and resource use are leading to improved outcomes, and increased satisfaction with the NVC Stakeholders come to us for advice Key actions Provide opportunities for open dialogue so that all stakeholders feel valued and empowered Regional visits, consultation Develop and implement a structured program for effectively and consistently sharing information Respond promptly to stakeholder issues Implement and monitor feedback processes including: Regular stakeholder surveys Common processes through which stakeholders can provide feedback Strategic Plan

6 Education and Training Our goal: Stakeholders understand the value of native vegetation and their role in enhancing it. Educate and advise by: planning and better integrating education/training services to ensure that stakeholders have access to those services they need, when they need them supporting the stakeholders who need it most by directing resources to meet their specific and identified needs. Inform the community by providing simple user friendly information through brochures and on-line information platforms. Train the community by providing ongoing regular workshops. What success looks like Stakeholders have a greater understanding of the NVC NRM Regions have capacity to take on some of the NVC roles There is a positive behaviour change amongst the general public through trust, representation, local knowledge and understanding Stakeholder planning accommodates the Act Key actions Education and training programs for Stakeholders leading to agreements with NRM regions that formalise shared responsibility Understand SEB offsets Understand 3rd Party Offsets Implement and monitor an education and training strategy for use within the Native Vegetation Management Unit Promote roadside vegetation management plans Strategic Plan

7 Climate Change Our goal: Effective and responsive support for stakeholders through climate change Consider a future under climate change by: understanding better the declining quality of native vegetation, species loss, changing demand for clearance and species selection in revegetation in regards to impacts of climate change collaborating on key native vegetation research projects and activities communicating with stakeholders on key climate change issues facing native vegetation. Adapt to climate change by assisting stakeholders in understanding and adapting to a changing climate through the provision of a range of tools and information Mitigate against the effects of climate change by: investigating and supporting new opportunities for stakeholders to benefit from incentives and opportunities in regards to climate change and native vegetation supporting research, trials and extensions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and maintain native vegetation under a changing climate. What success looks like A climate change strategy that informs NVC business Management plans that can be reviewed and adapt to changing environmental conditions Increased knowledge base and data to support regional decisions and planning Key actions Implement a climate change-ready strategy that can be incorporated into: Regulation review NVC Policy Review of SEB Mining Guidelines Guidelines under the Act Prescribed burning SOPS Strategic Plan

8 Monitoring and Evaluation Our goal: The Native Vegetation Council will have strong monitoring and evaluation, characterised by efficiency, transparency and equity. Monitor our performance by: Improving assessment tools to provide meaningful information Evaluate our performance by: Reviewing our progress in terms of implementing actions and make recommendations as part of a continuous improvement framework Identifying any gaps and make recommendations for improved monitoring and reporting Report on our performance by: Improving management systems to support the management and exchange of data and information. Improving the preparation of reporting and communication products What success looks like A strong monitoring and evaluation strategy that addresses compliance levels and measures vegetation quality is developed and implemented Effective but does not compromise complex, endemic systems that we have little knowledge and data available for Encouragement of knowledge sharing Key actions Implement a monitoring and evaluation strategy that addresses: o Compliance levels o Mandatory reporting o Native vegetation quality o Project specific requirements i.e. Rangelands benchmarking SEB offsets (i.e. grants set asides and third party) Strategic Plan

9 How will this be achieved? The NVC is committed to the adoption and implementation of the strategic plan and associated planning framework to improve transparency and accountability, and to deliver improved native vegetation outcomes. This approach will enable the NVC to effectively deliver on its four priorities. The priorities and success statements will guide planning for the NVC in We must be at the forefront of understanding how stakeholder values change as communities begin to understand the connection and importance of our native vegetation and biodiversity for future sustainability. Natural resource management is the responsibility of all. Working together, sharing knowledge and developing innovative solutions while listening, encouraging and supporting is the ideal approach that will facilitate greater community involvement in protecting, enhancing and increasing our knowledge of complex ecosystems. Communication and problem solving must be ongoing to ensure effective native vegetation management between stakeholders. The NVC is key to ensuring responsible decisions and management is achieved. Social solutions are critical for building a capacity for sustainability. Strategic Plan

10 Appendices Environmental scan An environmental scan using a PEEST (Political, Economic, Environment, Social and Technological) analysis held at the NVC Strategic Planning Day Workshop (Feb 2014) identified a number of factors that need to be considered as part of the strategic plan. These factors, combined with external micro-environmental and internal drivers, can be classified as opportunities and threats in a SWOT analysis. Table 1: PEEST analysis Political Decreasing concern for environment Newly elected government? Policies? Primary industry representation (PPSA) Climate change Global responsibility Economic Decreased funding Continued pressure for mining development Increased emphasis on economic outcomes Growth in regions Climate change Environment Ongoing clearance (trend?) (Influence of NVC?) Recent fires Increasing requirement for ongoing weed and pest control Poor track record of rehabilitation (We still need to be able to quantify or qualify this) Movement of NGOs into management of land for environmental outcomes Decrease in vegetation condition and extent (As above) Climate change Weather events Resilience and adaptation (quality, quantity and location) (we will also be affected by the resilience & adaptability of communities i.e. if no one lives there who will the caretakers be?) Social Capacity to adapt to change Decreasing concern for environment (?) politically Less panic about environmental concerns But more concerned about environment for future Increased awareness of environment more savvy Consumer driven Climate change Need to transfer concern and awareness into behaviour change Technology Trend towards remote technology for assessment Increased levels of farming technologies e.g. GPS, drones Big machinery Access to information Production groups Social media Climate change Results from the PEEST analysis shows that: some issues are going to get bigger/worse into the future the capacity of DEWNR s Native Vegetation Management Unit into the future is diminishing there is a need to strengthen links to others i.e. delegations, regional bodies there is a need to increase the understanding of primary producers and land managers a structure to engage with PPSA is needed as the capacity of the Native Vegetation Management Unit diminishes the NVC will be increasingly dependent on other stakeholders it is imperative that the NVC develop positive relationships with stakeholders. Strategic Plan

11 Background Information What has worked well: - Regional visits o Identification of intractable issues o Development of local relationships - Regional forums o Targeted discussions o Understanding local issues through prior engagement o Setting context for regional visits o Key message that NVC is there to listen - NVC meetings o Relative informality of meetings, people feel comfortable to contribute o Support of NVC Unit and wider DEWNR staff What we would like to see more of: - Communication and engagement building relationships - Resourcing - Enabling cultural change, facilitating - Clarity and accuracy of information What we would like to see less of: - Budget cuts - Clearance - Our resilience will be tested when we do not see less of either of these Situational Analysis Native vegetation plays a vital role in the health and prosperity of South Australia's ecosystems, communities and natural resource-based industries. Less than 30% of original native vegetation remains in South Australia's agricultural areas, with some regions at lower than 10%. As a result of the high levels of clearance of native vegetation in the agricultural areas of South Australia in the past, steps have been taken to ensure the ongoing preservation of what remains of our native vegetation. The Act ensures that areas of high conservation value are protected and that minor clearance is subject to a thorough assessment process. In 2014/15 DEWNR is required to manage a reduction in resources and this will impact on the Native Vegetation Management Unit s capacity to support the NVC. With this in mind, it makes sense to plan communications and engagement around providing enabling tools and information to encourage stakeholder self-sufficiency. The Native Vegetation Act The Native Vegetation Act 1991 (the Act) was proclaimed on 18 April Native vegetation by definition means a plant or plants of a species indigenous to South Australia including a plant or plants growing in or under waters of the sea. The Act controls the clearance of native vegetation in addition to assisting the conservation, management and research of native vegetation on lands outside the National Parks and Wildlife parks and reserves system. The objects of the Act, in summary, include the: conservation, protection and enhancement of native vegetation in the state provision of incentives and assistance to landholders in relation to the preservation, enhancement and management of native vegetation encouragement of research into the preservation, enhancement and management of native vegetation limitation of clearance of native vegetation to particular circumstances the encouragement of the re-establishment of native vegetation on land where native vegetation has been cleared or degraded. The Native Vegetation Fund The Act establishes the Native Vegetation Fund, monies from which are made available for the management of Heritage Agreement areas, research into the preservation, large scale conservation, restoration and management of native vegetation once established or reinstated on cleared land. The fund consists of an annual allocation appropriated by parliament, clearance application fees, monies paid into the fund to achieve a significant environmental benefit (SEB), and penalties from civil and summary enforcement proceedings. The Act provides that monies paid into the fund as SEB payments or penalties must be Strategic Plan

12 managed by the NVC to establish or regenerate native vegetation in the region where the clearance or breach has occurred. The auditor general may at any time, and must at least once in each year, audit the accounts of the fund. The Native Vegetation Council The NVC is a statutory body established by the Act. The NVC monitors the overall condition of the state s vegetation and makes decisions on a wide range of matters concerning native vegetation in South Australia. Its responsibilities include: encouraging the re-establishment of native vegetation on over-cleared land; managing the Heritage Agreement Scheme, which encourages the protection of native bushland; funding and encouraging on-ground works that produce a significant environmental benefit funding and encouraging native vegetation management research; monitoring changes to the state s native vegetation landscape through the Change Detection Program; assessing applications and establishing conditions for the clearance of native vegetation; and producing an annual report Seven NVC members are appointed by the Governor of South Australia. They come from a range of backgrounds and have knowledge and experience in the preservation and management of native vegetation. Delegation The NVC may, with the approval of the Minister under section 15 of the Act, delegate any of its powers or functions. Strategic Plan

13 Department For Environment, Water and Natural Resources DEWNR leads the management of South Australia s natural resources. It works in partnership with the state s eight Natural Resources Management (NRM) boards to advise, inform and support community and government decision-making and deliver services to communities. DEWNR s vision for is to be an exceptional state because we look after our natural capital. DEWNR s purpose for is to help South Australians conserve, sustain and prosper. The values articulated in the DEWNR Corporate Plan provide a basis and underpin the culture of both the NVC and the Native Vegetation Management Unit: 1. We believe that people matter 2. We are collaborative, and believe in team work 3. We participate and learn from doing 4. We get the right things done State Natural Resources Management Plan The State NRM plan vision suggests that that we care for the land, water, air and sea that sustain us and that its goals are as follows: 1. People taking responsibility for natural resources and making informed decisions 2. Sustainable management and productive use of land, water, air and sea 3. Improved condition and resilience of natural systems. State Strategic Plan The effective administration of the Act by the NVC is contributing to the implementation of South Australia s Strategic Plan (SASP), specifically: Target 69 - Lose no Species (lose no known native species as a result of human impacts) Target 20 - Bushfire Preparedness (increase the number of households in high bushfire prone areas that are prepared for a bushfire by 30% by 2020) Target 70 - Sustainable Land Management (achieve a 25% increase in the protection of agricultural cropping land by 2020) Target 72 - Nature Conservation (increase participation in nature conservation activities by 25% by 2015). Two important targets have been set by the government in regard to the gender composition of boards and committees. These are detailed in South Australia's Strategic Plan as follows: Target 30-50% of women on government boards and committees by 2014 Target 31-50% of government boards and committees to be chaired by women by 2014 Boards and committees South Australian Government boards and committees play an important role in providing leadership, direction and accountability across every area of government activity. There is a range of boards, advisory committees and statutory authorities in South Australia. These boards and committees are diverse in terms of functions, form, size, level of responsibility and accountability. Members are drawn from the community or professional groups to fill positions on a diverse range of boards. Some provide policy advice to government or oversee trading enterprises while others are professional registration boards. Further information is available at: Strategic Plan

14 Native Vegetation Management Unit The core and fundamental role of the Native Vegetation Management Unit is to enable the Act. It achieves this by: providing policy advice and professional scientific support to the NVC and DEWNR administering compliance and enforcement of the Act managing South Australian native vegetation programs consistent with the objectives of the Act strengthening the links between native vegetation, revegetation and landscape-scale ecological restoration. As well as taking reference from the Act, the DEWNR Corporate Plan and the State NRM Plan also guide the role and purpose of the Native Vegetation Management Unit. The role of the unit is to administer the Act as it applies throughout the state and ensure that alignment to the goals of DEWNR and the government is maintained. Developing the right culture within the unit is also important and should be nurtured. Focussing on teamwork, collaboration and relationships contribute to the future success of the unit s development. Strategic Plan

15 Strategic Plan

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