Murray-Darling Basin Plan (Basin Plan)
The Murray-Darling Basin Plan aims to bring the Basin back to a healthier and sustainable level, while continuing to support farming and other industries for the benefit of the Australian community. It does this by setting the amount of water that can be taken from the Basin each year, while leaving enough for our rivers, lakes and wetlands and the plants and animals that depend on them.
Water Act 1989
The Water Act 1989 provides the legal framework for managing entitlements to Victoria’s water resources. The main purposes of the Act are to promote the equitable and efficient use of water resources, ensure water resources are conserved and properly managed for the benefit of all Victorians, and increase community involvement in conserving and managing water resources.
Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994
The Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994 (CaLP Act) is the legislation that promotes and enables integrated catchment management across Victoria including establishment of catchment management regions and authorities and the requirement for Regional Catchment Strategies. The CaLP Act also establishes a framework for invasive species management, under the Act all land owners are legally required to manage declared noxious weeds and pest animals on their land.
Water and Catchment Legislation Amendment Act 2019
The purpose of this is Act was to make several amendments to both the Water Act 1989 and the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994 including to have:
- greater consideration of the recreational values of water and waterways for communities
- greater recognition and involvement of Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians in the management and planning of waterways and catchments and;
- clearer planning for future challenges such as climate change, population growth and changing demands for water.
Water Resource Plans
The Basin Plan required all Murray-Darling Basin states, including Victoria, to prepare water resource plans by June 2019. Those relevant to the north central region are:
- Wimmera–Mallee (groundwater & surface water)
- Northern Victoria (surface water)
- Goulburn–Murray (groundwater)
Traditional Owners were engaged to inform water resource planning and their contributions, including objectives and outcomes are a useful resource for understanding cultural values of water as documented here.
Water for Victoria
Water for Victoria is a plan for a future with less water as Victoria responds to the impact of climate change and a growing population. The actions set out in the plan support a healthy environment, a prosperous economy with growing agricultural production and thriving communities. Some of the key actions relevant to the RCS are:
- Embedding climate change considerations in all operational decisions (Action 2.2).
- Investing in Integrated Catchment Management (Action 3.3).
- Providing long-term investment to improve waterway health (Action 3.4).
- Managing waterways for shared benefits – social, cultural, economic and environmental (Action 3.6).
- Supporting community partnerships and citizen science (Action 3.8).
- Improving the recording of progress and how the information is reported back to communities, implementing new Rivers 2040 framework (Action 3.9).
- Dealing with the impacts of population growth, including resilient, cities and towns (Action 5.6).
- Chapter 6 Recognising and managing for Aboriginal values.
- Action 6.1 Recognise Aboriginal values and objectives of water
- Action 6.2 Considering Aboriginal values in water planning and management
- Action 6.3 Support Aboriginal access to water for economic development
- Action 6.4 Build capacity to increase Aboriginal participation in water management
Victorian Waterway Management Strategy
The Victorian Waterway Management Strategy provides the framework for government, in partnership with the community, to maintain or improve the condition of rivers, estuaries and wetlands so they can continue to provide environmental, social, cultural and economic values for all Victorians.
Our Catchments Our Communities
Our Catchments Our Communities is the first state-wide strategy for integrated catchment management in Victoria. It aims to provide healthy, sustainable and productive land, water and biodiversity maintained through integrated catchment management that is strongly community based, regionally focused and collaborative. The strategy will strengthen partnerships through co-ordinated planning, investment, and on-ground activities. Over the course of the strategy, CMAs and their regional partners and communities will deliver integrated catchment management projects across Victoria.
Integrated Water Management Framework for Victoria
The Integrated Water Management Framework for Victoria (IWM) is designed to help regional stakeholders to work together, ensuring the water cycle contributes to the liveability of towns and cities in Victoria, with communities at the centre of decision making. To facilitate this, IWM forums have been established across the state to identify, prioritise and oversee the implementation of critical collaborative opportunities, led by water authorities – for the north central region, this is Coliban Water.
Environmental Reference Standard
The Environment Protection Amendment Act 2018 came into effect 1 July 2021, providing a new framework for the protection of human health and the environment from pollution and waste. The Environmental Reference Standard is a key tool in this new framework, for decision-makers and duty holders to assess risk to the environment. The Environmental Reference Standard is made up of several ‘reference standards’ that cover: ambient air, ambient sound, land, water (surface water and groundwater). Each identifies an environmental value and most include indicators and objectives too. These will be used to assess if the environmental value is being achieved, maintained, or threatened.
Victorian Rural Drainage Strategy
The Victorian Rural Drainage Strategy sets out new rules, protocols and support mechanisms to enable landowners and government agencies to overcome past barriers to the repair and management of degraded rural drainage systems. Under the new approach, landowners are empowered and supported to choose how they want to manage rural drainage.
One of the regional projects that delivers on the strategy outcomes is the Bullock Creek River Improvement Trust District Management Planning Pilot Study.
North Central Waterway Strategy
The North Central Waterway Strategy 2014-22 sets out priorities to protect and enhance the regions rivers and wetlands and deliver on actions set out in the Victorian Waterway Strategy.
North Central Regional Floodplain Strategy
The purpose of the North Central Regional Floodplain Management Strategy 2018-28 is to provide a single, regional planning document for floodplain management within the north central region and a high-level Regional Work Plan to guide future investment priorities.