The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) has recently prepared a draft Port Phillip Bay Environment Management Plan. DRI has been involved in all stages of this process, as we take seriously our contributions to the planning for the future of our bays and waterways. We see this as part of our leadership role in caring for our bays.
The draft is now in its final phase. Read DRI's full submission here.
The Port Phillip Bay Environmental Management Plan (EMP) sets goals and actions to protect our bay’s environment. The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) recently provided an opportunity to comment on a new draft Port Phillip EMP for the bay for 2017-2027 period.
In summary, we feel that the draft reflects a thorough process and is accessible and clearly presented. It has a clear vision and priority of actions that are well supported with scientific rationale and input from previous consultations.
It is positive that the State of the Bay’s report will become the independent monitor of the success of the EMP in protecting the bay.
We supported the statement in the draft that calls for a “paradigm shift in the way we treat stormwater” to deal better with the future impacts of population growth and climate change. This is really about whole catchment and whole system thinking where all land and waterway managers in the catchment recognise their impacts on the bay – not just coastal councils. We feel that integrating this thinking throughout the plan as a guiding principle behind all goals and actions would strengthen the EMP.
We also strongly supported the arguments for better education to build community perceptions about the high ecological values of the bay and also their impacts from the catchment.
DRI raised the potential of using dolphin skin health as a future indicator of the bay’s environmental health. We believe that there is great potential here but we need to complete more work on the dolphin health project before it will be proven.
We also posed the question about noise pollution and whether this could be covered in the EMP as it is not currently mentioned.
The critical thing however, is the institutional arrangements for managing the implementation of the plan. We recommended strongly that there should be a high level, multi-agency implementation panel to ensure that the EMP is a high priority across all areas of government.
Overall, we feel that the draft Port Phillip EMP is a quality document with some opportunities to become stronger.