Biodiversity Conservation and Natural Resource Management in NSW: complexity, coordination and common sense
A major threat to native vegetation is the poor relationship between two essential bodies - Catchment Authorities and Local Government. This problem is particularly significant in NSW. Our intention is to stimulate debate about the importance of integration and coordination between these key two players. However, their disparate traditions and institutional structures need to be recognized and dealt with.
Both organizational systems arise from very different backgrounds. Local government comes from a developmentalist and service-oriented tradition, based on its cultural and historical baggage. Catchment Authorities, on the other hand, are the new kid on the block. They are ostensibly concerned about the sustainable management of natural resources, including conservation of native vegetation. Furthermore, local government enjoys democratic legitimacy while catchment authorities are appointed by State government.
Local government is both a service provider and regulator. It exercises crucial environmental functions through development control and strategic planning. Moreover, local government is expected to carry out more and more functions devolved by State government despite inadequate resources.
Catchment Authorities have their own sets of plans, which determine priorities and describe targets for natural resource management. They distribute funds for landscape repair. It appears that in the future, they will have a critical function in regulating disturbance of native vegetation.
The apparent lack of integration between statutory land-use plans and catchment plans has the potential to undermine the gains made through investment, incentives and regulation.
All threats to native vegetation, including institutional ones, require urgent attention. This presentation will canvass the issues and encourage participants to respond.