The Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) and
catchment management authorities (CMA) face significant and
escalating challenges if they are to meet the core objectives of
the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994 (the Act),
which are to maintain and enhance long-term land productivity while
also conserving the environment. While existing catchment
management approaches are delivering some gains, they are
inadequate to meet these challenges.
Statewide catchment conditions are poorly understood because of
inconsistent assessment methods and a number of deficiencies in the
adequacy and quality of data collected.
The limited information currently available suggests that the
condition of catchments across the state is continuing to
The Act prescribes an integrated, long-term approach to
catchment management. However, the existing statewide approach is
fragmented and short-term in focus, with no expectations regarding
the quality of land and water resources needed to meet the Act's
Despite these weaknesses, CMAs have developed six-year regional
catchment strategies that promote long-term catchment management
approaches at a regional level. However, short-term resourcing and
a lack of accountability among partner agencies constrain the CMAs'
ability to plan for and deliver long-term outcomes.
DEPI and CMAs are now working to develop a more coherent
statewide approach, with improved monitoring of catchment
condition, clearer roles and responsibilities, and a longer-term