Executive Message – CEO
SWCC as an organisation is committed to adaptive management – that is we learn as we do – it is an iterative process of robust decision making (and review) in the face of uncertainty – and this is very important in our sector where both the physical, socio-political, and economic environments are ever changing.
Last year I reported about a year of stability and certainty, a welcomed relief, which is a theme that continues in our program delivery for this year, although in other areas there has been significant change, and preparation for further change and uncertainty.
In 2016/17 SWCC has continued to deliver quality projects across a very diverse program of works in both theme and landscapes; as an organisation we are very proud of the work we achieve and many of these projects are detailed here in our annual report. Of specific note is the conclusion of the Preston River to Ocean Project – a three-year project that has added significant value to the local environment and local community here in Bunbury. Even after the conclusion of the project we will continue to champion the park, and the community’s role in its management.
In addition to our on-ground efforts, we saw a major transition within our board as we farewelled David Gardner, handed the baton on to Christine Kershaw as chair, and inducted four new board members in Brian Piesse, Macushla (Cush) Prasser-Jones, Michael Appleby and Michael Beaton. The timing and transition was ideal will all board members now fully inducted and familiar with SWCC and our region; which is especially important given the challenges ahead for the board in providing strategic leadership in a time of increasing uncertainty.
This uncertainty stems from the conclusion of the National Landcare Program (NLP), and transition to NLP Stage 2. However, there is much to celebrate – the Australian Government has announced $1.1 billion in funding over the next five years, and has published the review of the National Landcare Program, which is highly supportive of the sector, and what we achieve. While we are still awaiting the specific details of the new program, we have commenced the required planning and consultation with the SWCC Association, the other Natural Resource Management (NRM) regions, and across the Landcare / NRM sector in preparation. We will be well placed to respond when the program is formally launched. Our engagement with our regional partners has been underpinned by the work we commenced on building better collaboration – work that is now paying dividends and will result in a highly collaborative program developed for NLP2.
We have also seen the change in government to the McGowan Labor Government in WA, and are hopeful of strong support for the NRM / Landcare sector both locally, from ministers and from government as a whole. A consistent message from SWCC has been the request for a more formalised structure for NRM in WA and for a better appreciation of the community infrastructure that the Landcare and NRM groups in the South West represent. Community infrastructure that is very effective and efficient in achieving outcomes for the environment, for government and local communities; and is the envy of many other countries.
As always, SWCC achievements are built on the hard work of our staff, and I would like to personally thank everyone who has contributed, they are an amazing group of people.