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Turning the Tide

A draft discussion paper on management challenges and options for the Botany Bay Catchment
The Botany Bay Program Jim Colman July 2001
Prepared for the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC)
With funding provided by the National Oceans Office - Coastal and Marine Planning Program

Contents

REPORT OUTLINE: SUMMARY OF FINDINGS images/cover_small.gif

CHAPTER 1 BACKGROUND

CHAPTER 2 THE CONTEXT OF THE BOTANY BAY PROGRAM

CHAPTER 3 THE BAY IN 2001 – CURRENT MANAGEMENT ARRANGEMENTS

CHAPTER 4 WHY THE BOTANY BAY PROGRAM?

CHAPTER 5 SCIENCE AND THE BAY

CHAPTER 6 THE BAY COMMUNITY

CHAPTER 7 MANAGING THE BAY – LESSONS, PRECEDENTS, PROSPECTS

CHAPTER 8 FUTURE BAY MANAGEMENT: ORGANISATION, RESPONSIBILITIES, CONCERNS

CHAPTER 9 CONCLUSION

KEY REFERENCES

APPENDICES

ABBREVIATIONS

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


SUMMARY & REPORT OUTLINE BY CHAPTER

This Discussion Paper presents for public comment the results of the first 12 months of work on the Botany Bay Program (BBP), a federally-funded project of the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils. The project grew out of earlier community and governmental concerns about what was seen as a continuing decline in the environmental health of Botany Bay and its catchment. The aim of the BBP is to develop "a framework for the integrated planning of Botany Bay catchment". The key word is integrated – taken to mean an approach to Bay planning which successfully draws together the various policies, resources and skills of all 'stakeholders' into an effective plan of management for the bay environment.

In October 2000, the Healthy Rivers Commission recorded a draft recommendation to State Government that it develop and endorse a "new integrated management framework" for the Bay. Adoption of that recommendation by government would go a long way towards satisfying the aims of the BBP. However, the HRC has not reported finally and government has yet to respond. In the meantime, the SSCMB is working on a draft catchment management plan pursuant to State legislation. It will be some time before this plan is finalised. It may provide a partial answer to the BBP search for an environmental strategy for the Bay.

This discussion paper deals with these realities – and their implications for the BBP – in some detail. It has a particular focus on opportunities, which have emerged for 'partnerships' between community groups, science, government, and other sectors. As evidenced by successful bay management plans and programs elsewhere, such partnerships can bring about beneficial change without requiring major alterations to prevailing legislative or bureaucratic arrangements.

The paper also puts forward a number of proposals for early action which, if implemented, would help to improve scientific knowledge of the Bay, bring together the many players in the non-government sector, establish a dedicated on-line mapping and data base for Bay studies, and set in train the preliminary arrangements for a Bay Environmental Expo and Science Forum for later this year.

Comments and suggestions for the Program as it moves ahead will be most welcome. Comments should be addressed to:
Botany Bay Program
PO Box 17
SUTHERLAND NSW 2232
Tel: (02) 9710 0463
Fax: (02) 9669 2112
Email: jcolman@ssc.nsw.gov.au
mhopkins@ssc.nsw.gov.au

SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

"The Botany Bay and Georges River Basin presents a very good example of an environmentally over-stressed region. There seems to be little doubt that present environmental conflicts within its boundaries will continue to expand and intensify in response to the persistent pressures exerted by the seemingly inexorable growth of Sydney and its suburbs." NSW Ministry for Environment Control, Botany Bay and Georges River Environmental Study Background Report, Nov. 1973

In 1973, the Botany Bay Basin was seen an "environmentally overstressed region". The three decades of change since then have seen further 'conflicts' and modifications to the Bay and its catchment, and have given rise to ever-increasing levels of community concern about the extent to which treasured environmental and cultural attributes can withstand further degradation.

This Discussion Paper deals with the predicament now being faced by government and community as more and more evidence emerges to suggest that the Bay urgently needs help. The extent of that help, and the responsibility for its delivery, are the two central issues in the current debate – and this document seeks to throw some fresh light on both. Commissioned by the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils and funded by Environment Australia, the Botany Bay Program now invites constructive comment and feed-back on the results of the first 12 months of its work.

Summary of Chapter 1 Background

Botany Bay is an oval-shaped enclosed embayment about 18km south of Sydney Harbour and Port Jackson on the New South Wales coast. It has a waterway area of 80 sq km and a catchment area of about 1100 sq km. European contact commenced with the visit of James Cook in 1770, followed by Arthur Phillip and the First Fleet from Britain in 1788.

As a maritime and transport facility the Bay accommodates the biggest crude oil importing port and the largest container port in New South Wales, as well as Sydney Airport – the nation's largest. The catchment accommodates Bankstown Airport (Australia's busiest in terms of aircraft movements) which flanks the Georges River upstream of Milperra. It supports water-based recreation for residents of the bay and riverside suburbs. The catchment system has important habitats for seagrass, mangroves and saltmarsh species as well as many varieties of birds and marine fauna. Despite habitat loss and damage over the years, recreational and commercial fishing, prawning and oyster farming continue – albeit in a limited way. Towra Point is a RAMSAR listed wetland on the southern shore of the Bay.

The Bay receives waters from the Georges and Cooks Rivers and their tributaries. The former is the larger, with numerous estuarine tributaries of which the largest is the Woronora River. The Georges River is an important recreational waterway. Sand extraction continues upstream, although it is now limited to the floodplain. The river suffers heavy pollution loads including sewage overflows, sediments and nutrients. There are no major commercial activities on the river.

The Cooks River traverses the northern sector of the Bay catchment extending inland to Chullora from its mouth adjacent to Sydney Airport. Heavily polluted, its banks are almost entirely artificial. Major modifications to alignment and flow characteristics have been implemented over time. It is exposed to rapid and heavy stormwater runoff from adjoining areas which have been extensively developed since the early days of settlement. Its major tributary is the Alexandra Canal – the subject of recent studies and proposed improvement strategies.

The Bay has a strong pre-European heritage, with Aboriginal ownership and occupation dating back millennia. It also has associations with early French explorations.

The perimeter and foreshores of the Bay have been extensively modified over time in response to the demands of industry, commerce, maritime trade and transport. The international airport and the container terminal are major interventions.

Biophysical aspects of the Botany Bay catchment are thought to have changed significantly over time. Examples include water quality decline and contamination of sediments; fragmentation of habitats and loss of biodiversity; exotic species increase (eg. threats from toxic organisms); decline in migratory bird populations; decline in fish species, diversity, and abundance; loss of oyster production; and loss of important flora species and communities.

Summary of Chapter 2 The Context for the Botany Bay Program

Early in 1998, the six Bay-side local government councils of Botany Bay, Hurstville, Kogarah, Randwick, Rockdale and Sutherland Shire responded to community concerns about the apparent decline in the Bay's environmental quality by launching the Reclaim the Bay campaign. Their central purpose was to establish a mechanism for improving and protecting the environment and ecology of the Bay over time.

In August 1998 the first initiative of the Reclaim the Bay campaign bore fruit with the release of the State of the Bay report which concluded that better planning and management for the Bay and its entire catchment were vital if environmental qualities were to be improved. A need for trend reporting was identified. Responsibility for action was seen as resting with all levels of government as well as with the community at large.

Subsequent action included the successful application by SSROC for federal government funding. In August 1999 SSROC endorsed an agreement with the Federal Department of Environment and Heritage (Environment Australia) for the development of a framework for the integrated planning of the Botany Bay catchment. The Botany Bay Program sits within a global context of growing official concerns for coastal and estuary eco-systems and – more specifically – for bays and waterways which are closely associated with big cities.

New South Wales government agencies have a significant influence on development patterns, the construction and distribution of infrastructure, land use and environmental planning, and other activities within the Botany Bay catchment. State laws, regulations, policies and other instruments apply both to particular parts of the Bay and to the Bay in its entirety.

Alongside the various legal, regulatory and advisory layers of government there is an array of departments, authorities, and special-purpose bodies which have responsibilities for activities in the Bay. Some of these (such as the Department of Urban Affairs and Planning) have a statewide jurisdiction; others (such as the Sydney Ports Corporation and the recently created Southern Sydney Catchment Management Board) have a more focussed role.

Recent State government initiatives of particular relevance to the Botany Bay Program include the following.

The Southern Sydney Catchment Management Board - was established in 2000 and commenced its operations towards the end of that year (several months after the launch of the BBP). The Board is required by statute to produce a draft Catchment Management Plan, the key elements of which must be submitted to the Minister within the first 12 operational months (ie. by October 2001). Congruence with the area which is the concern of the Botany Bay Program is complete.

The Draft Report of the Independent Inquiry into the Georges River – Botany Bay System - was released for public comment by the NSW Healthy Rivers Commission in October 2000. The report covered management problems and issues as well as a well-documented description of the catchment. The geographical area covered by the HRC Inquiry is virtually identical to that which is now the responsibility of the SSCMB. The Inquiry's first recommendation was for the development and endorsement by government of "a new integrated management framework for the Botany Bay system" (HRC, 2000, 56).

Plan First: Review of plan making in NSW – a White Paper (Feb.2001) and its companion document Ideas for community consultation were recently released by the Department of Urban Affairs and Planning for comment and discussion. The former points towards the introduction of a new planning system with a particular focus on the preparation of regional strategies, with councils and State agencies working together to set directions for future growth and change. There is clearly an opportunity for connecting the regional and catchment foci of the BBP with DUAP's new system – perhaps by way of 'pilot' or test projects involving some of the environmental parameters which are explored in this paper.

At the metropolitan level, a fresh insight into the geography of the region can be obtained by examining catchment management arrangements which are currently in place. Three major drainage systems are evident. The Hawkesbury –Nepean River system drains much of the western and northern sectors of the Cumberland Plain and Blue Mountains. The Parramatta River and its eastern extension into Port Jackson and Sydney Harbour drains the inner suburbs to its north, west and south. The Georges River – Botany Bay catchment drains much of the urbanised eastern, western and southern suburbs as well as the related Woronora River sub-catchment. Half of Sydney's population resides within the catchment.

For purposes of metropolitan planning and resource management, the entire metropolitan region should perhaps be viewed as a cluster of catchments, each demanding its own management structure based on natural rather than cultural boundaries.

Botany Bay can be seen as a discrete eco-system in its own right. It can also be viewed as a part of the wider Sydney metropolitan region, or as a collection of suburbs, localities and local government authorities. Twelve of these last-mentioned bodies (being members of SSROC) took a lead role in bringing the current Program into being, they being Woollahra, Waverley, Randwick, South Sydney, Marrickville, Botany, Rockdale, Kogarah, Hurstville, Canterbury, Bankstown, and Sutherland Shire. Amongst these councils there is a collective recognition that there are many 'local' problems whose resolution can only be achieved by way of collaboration.

Outside the SSROC are those which have jurisdiction over lands within the upper Georges and Cooks River catchments. These include Ashfield, Auburn, Blacktown, Burwood, Camden, Campbelltown, Fairfield, Holroyd, Liverpool, Strathfield, Wollondilly and Wollongong. In total, 24 out of the 40-odd local government authorities in metropolitan Sydney are involved in the Bay catchment in one way or another. In 1996 the total population of these 24 Councils was 2.265 million (not all within the BB catchment), with a total operating expenditure of $1270.2 million (Source: ABS).

SSROC is not the only coalition of local authorities in the Botany Bay catchment. There are at least 11 other groupings, (including the SSROC counterpart organisation of WSROC) which have emerged as a result of decisions to work together on common concerns such as planning policy, environmental management, and research.

The South Sydney Development Corporation was established by the State Government in 1996 to facilitate the revitalisation of that part of inner Sydney which extends in a generally southwards direction from Central railway to Botany Bay. Amongst its responsibilities is the coordination of remediation works on the Alexandra Canal, notorious for its heavy load of pollutants arising from its role as a stormwater channel serving a heavily industrialised and urbanised area over many years. The Corporation has prepared a master plan for the canal – seen as having potential as a major recreational, ecological and visual water asset within the Cooks River system.

In 1989, 16 coastal local government councils in metropolitan Sydney joined forces to promote coordination on environmental issues relating to the sustainable management of the urban coastal environment. Their combined territory includes the waterways of Pittwater, Port Jackson, Botany Bay and Port Hacking.

A large number of non-government organisations (NGOs) are active throughout the catchment in many fields of interest including the commercial, recreational and industrial sectors. In the NGO sector, environment groups have consistently taken a leadership role in helping to identify catchment management issues of concern to local communities as well as to wider regional constituencies.

Currently (May 2001) key environmental groups in the catchment have moved towards the establishment of a coalition. This historically significant initiative, when complete, will provide a single conduit for major catchment -wide NGO concerns to be transmitted to government.

The traditional custodial role of the Aboriginal community in the catchment is being maintained through individual and joint-venture projects which reflect the fact that the protection and maintenance of cultural assets is now recognised as both a civic and governmental responsibility. Increasingly, Aboriginal project officers are being employed in catchment Councils (as exemplified by Ms Cheryl Greenham's work on Hurstville City Council's Aboriginal Written and Oral History Project).

Summary of Chapter 3 The Bay in 2001 – Current Management Arrangements

Botany Bay and its catchment are not managed in any formal sense of the word.

Unlike Sydney Harbour, the Bay - seen as a distinct place -has no political champion. For Sydney Harbour the Government has established the Office of Sydney Harbour Manager, reporting to a senior Cabinet Minister. But there is no Botany Bay Office in Macquarie Street.

Certain State agencies and corporations have jurisdictions which empower them to manage or control or regulate or guide or plan or build within the Bay area, but such activities are typically driven by the particular statutory responsibilities of the body in question. They may be sporadic or ongoing. They may relate to "bricks and mortar" projects, or they may be of a regulatory nature. Occasionally, two or more bodies will collaborate in a joint venture – as will groups of local authorities. There is no fundamental restriction on inter-agency or inter-council collaboration, but such actions are often seen as being outside the 'core business' of the parties concerned – and resources for integration are accordingly in short supply.

Current governmental arrangements in the Bay area are such that agency programs typically proceed in parallel. Examples of programs in which the "whole of government " ethos has been applied appear to be rare and are not well publicised, despite the frequent references to that ethos in official documents.

The result is fragmentation, a confusing maze of responsibilities, duties, policy statements, plans and programs which do not provide an easy answer to some of the fundamental questions which the wider community appears to be asking. Who is in charge? What is government doing to help protect the Bay and restore its environmental integrity?

The Bay area has national as well as state significance. Port Botany is the State's foremost container terminal. Adjoining the Port is the nation's premier airport. Both projects have involved massive extensions into the Bay, bringing significant impacts for the Bay's environment. The development of these nationally important facilities has brought major economic benefits. They are likely to remain as long-term elements of metropolitan infrastructure. The challenge for government is to ensure that ongoing use of these assets is accompanied by appropriate environmental management and funding arrangements which take into account the fact that, for Botany Bay, their arrival brought massive and irreversible changes to shoreline, bay geometry and hydrodynamics, habitat and other environmental characteristics.

The question arises: how can future Bay management ensure the continuing viability and operational success of these two major public assets whilst at the same time facilitating the steady improvement of the overall catchment environment?

Achieving this latter objective will require an unprecedented level of cooperation within

the scientific community, working hand in hand with state agencies, local councils and the non-government community (amongst others). At the same time, both Sydney Ports and Sydney Airport have mandates to conduct their operations in an environmentally responsible way. Perhaps these two bodies could assist in funding the necessary scientific research within the catchment – seen as a single ecosystem whose health will bring benefits to the entire community and to all users whether downstream in the Bay or upstream at the head of the tributaries.

Summary of Chapter 4 Why the Botany Bay Program?

The draft findings of the HRC Independent Inquiry into the Georges River and Botany Bay system indicate that current natural resource and environmental management is disjointed, and that new management arrangements are urgently warranted if remaining environmental values are to be protected. That report vindicated the position taken earlier by SSROC which led to its successful application for federal government funding for the Program in 1999.

A rationale for a new Bay management system (discussed more fully in the relevant chapter) is based on the following propositions.

Summary of Chapter 5 Science and the Bay

Early attempts at formulating plans for metropolitan Sydney paid little or no regard to

science or to what are now commonly referred to as 'environmental' issues. To date, the metropolitan region still lacks an officially endorsed strategy for its environmental future which is firmly anchored in a robust scientific framework

A Bay-area planning framework which is explicitly based on an understanding of key scientific phenomena must be found if real environmental improvements are to be achieved. In other words, good science must underpin future Bay management.

Extent of current knowledge

Many scientific studies have been undertaken in different sections of Botany Bay over the years. However, holistic investigations of 'cause and effect' mechanisms in the Bay overall (including the two rivers) have yet to be undertaken, the result being that our knowledge of the functioning of the Bay and rivers as an ecosystem is limited and fragmented. Preparation of an up-to-date inventory of authoritative scientific effort associated with the Bay stands as a top priority for Bay management.

Community involvement in science

The value of scientific effort in the Bay area could be enhanced occasionally by bringing scientists and community representatives together to exchange information and ensure that local knowledge is fed into the data base. An understanding of community aspirations can trigger appropriate scientific responses. Community aspirations for the Bay need to be known, given that the Botany Bay Program was initiated through community concern. Future management arrangements will necessarily involve community input; and the application of 'citizen science' principles may be appropriate in certain fields of research and data collection / interpretation.

Degradation of the Bay's environment

The waters of the Bay may appear to be in good health but experience and research suggest that there are clear threats evident in the catchment and Bay surrounds. The once buoyant oyster farming industry has all but collapsed in the Georges River. Past contamination remains a serious threat to the Botany aquifer and groundwater resources. Foreshore and underwater storages of fuel, hazardous substances and hazardous wastes pose continuing potential risks to Bay habitats and water quality. Upstream in the two tributary rivers and in parts of the estuary, water quality remains vulnerable to the adverse impacts of urban runoff, sewage overflow, and sedimentation. Large-scale engineering works in foreshore locations continue to cause concerns.

Science and Bay management issues

Evidence indicates that to date, serious research on Bay phenomena has been patchy,

fragmented and not related to agreed Bay management objectives (such as they exist). Research and reporting on trends has been inadequate.

Within State Government – a major proponent of scientific activity – work has tended to be place or issue focussed and governed more by agency and development priorities than by a concern to improve our knowledge of Bay systems and of the ecosystem as a whole. Valuable work by agency scientists cannot easily be accessed; no comprehensive catalogue of their work exists. Academic research has likewise been driven by forces generally unrelated to community needs or to community aspirations for the future of the Bay, seen as a valuable public resource.

Agents for research

As with Bay government, scientific research on Bay phenomena has generally taken place in a relative vacuum of leadership and focus. No single agency or research centre has emerged as an appropriate focal point for a coordinated approach to data gathering, research, promulgation of findings, community education, and related activities associated with the generally accepted view that our knowledge of Bay and catchment phenomena is inadequate for the needs of contemporary management.

In response to this vacuum, the Botany Bay Program has proposed the establishment of a Botany Bay studies unit within the Centre for Marine and Coastal Studies at the University of New South Wales and a preliminary agreement has already been reached on this significant initiative.

Summary of Chapter 6 The Bay Community Community or communities?

To speak of a 'catchment community' is to speak of something which does not exist in the real world. Rather there is a galaxy of special (often conflicting) interest groups and local associations – most of which are place or activity focussed. There is no single umbrella group – although within local government, SSROC and the upstream group of WSROC can both claim to have attempted that role with some success.

Many groups have taken a special interest in environmental matters and there is a loose network linking these groups, offering a conduit for public policy debate. There are hundreds of examples of catchment-wide 'direct action' projects in which local people have pooled their resources, energies and expertise. Networks also exist in the fields of sport, religion, community recreation, community service, ethnic affairs, education, business, women's affairs, and youth – to name a few. And despite the disruptions and cultural traumas of the last 200 years or so the indigenous Bay people have managed to retain important vestiges of communal spirit and pride in their ancestral associations with the place – especially notable at Kurnell, La Perouse and a number of other locations within the catchment.

Local government

Local government, driven in part by community pressures, has been the principal agent pushing for a new management regime for the Bay system. It position now enjoys support by way of the draft HRC recommendations. Within the Bay, the 12 council areas which have combined to form the SSROC region vary considerably in size, geographical characteristics, history, climate, and socioeconomic profile. For the 1996 census year SSROC had a total population in excess of 1.1 million people. Total revenue from all sources (all Councils) in the 1998 - 99 year was $ 668 million. SSROC speaks for about a third of the population of metropolitan Sydney and for an area which commands a very substantial annual resource base.

Other local government authorities are active in upstream catchment management work. Numerous stormwater management plans are being prepared in a context in which some 24 councils out of a metropolitan total of about 43 have all or part of their territory in the Bay catchment.

Current community aspirations for the Bay

According to the HRC (2000, p.4) there is a "high degree of community unease …about the number of entities with management responsibilities relating to Botany Bay, the complexity of their inter-relationships, and the apparent lack of real accountability for results in terms of the overall health of the Bay".

The Commission identified 8 issues which emerged as being of primary community concern:

  • the need for integrated management of the overall system

    In the face of these issues, there is a wide variety and distribution of local projects which reveal not only the richness of the total community resource involved. They are also a reminder that local groups have a valuable knowledge fund arising from their direct involvement in 'on-the-ground' surveys, plans and projects. The potential for them to contribute this knowledge to serious science should be acknowledged in future Bay management arrangements.

    Partnerships for better Bay management

    In a landmark first move towards an ongoing partnership between the non-government environment groups, science, the indigenous community and local government, the Botany Bay Program convened a meeting on 24 May 2001at Sutherland. Representatives of these key groups discussed and agreed upon common interests relative to the management of the Bay and its catchment – including the Georges and Cooks Rivers - with a view to conserving, protecting and improving its environment.

    Participants at the May meeting agreed that the creation of a strong partnership between the parties would bring mutual benefits and would add value to the Botany Bay Program's findings. The group expressed a collective commitment to move ahead towards the establishment of a more formal arrangement for collaboration and interaction in line with the following principles:

    For the Botany Bay Program, the next logical step to progress the partnership will be to assist in the establishment of more formal arrangements, in step with the work associated with the proposed Botany Bay Studies Unit at the UNSW.

    Summary of Chapter 7 Managing the Bay: Lessons, Precedents, Prospects

    Current arrangements for Bay management continue to reflect the traditional strength of line agency responsibilities and the paucity of opportunities to apply a 'whole of government' response to multi-sectoral or inter-sectoral problems. Science tends to be undertaken in a client-driven context – often with an engineering focus. At the community level, input on area-wide environmental issues is necessarily reactive rather than proactive, and the absence of a coalition or umbrella group of NGOs able to speak with a single voice on environmental issues has hindered interaction with government. In local government, individual councils struggle with a myriad of issues demanding cross-jurisdictional and intergovernmental responses which they themselves – acting unilaterally - are often unable to deliver.

    Success stories: some common elements

    Experience in other places offers evidence that solutions to complex environmental resource management problems can be found through partnerships and other collaborative arrangements. These successes have a number of common elements.

    Summary of Chapter 8 Future Bay Management

    Generally

    Analysis of local and overseas counterpart Bay management programs suggests that if community aspirations are to be satisfied there are several basic requirements which should be considered for adoption within a new Bay management system. In any search for a new Bay management model, current political realities in New South Wales must be acknowledged.

    Territory

    For management and scientific purposes, the Bay must be taken to include Botany Bay and the two rivers. Smaller geographic units, sub-catchments or specific localities could be identified for particular purposes when necessary.

    Cabinet accountability

    Formal Cabinet recognition of a need for – and commitment to - Bay science and Bay planning should be evident, reflected in the inclusion of primary responsibility for the Botany Bay system as a named element in the portfolio of a senior Minister.

    Dedicated management unit

    At the operational level, responsibility for research, policy formulation, and the overall management of the Bay's environmental resources should be assigned to a dedicated management unit, appropriately funded and empowered.

    Independence

    A Botany Bay management entity should have a degree of independence such that its primary focus – ie. the delivery of holistic resource management processes – is not seen to be part of the jurisdictional territory of a particular agency; with the opportunity – endorsed at ministerial level – to play a pro-active "facilitation" role in its dealings with agencies and public bodies.

    Staff – money

    A new management entity should have a small full - time staff and full - time manager funded in part from a local government environmental levy across all constituent councils and in part by way of grants from federal and/or state governments.

    Policy group

    Policy issues should be determined by a top-level group broadly representative of all Bay interests, business, local government, state and Commonwealth agencies, the scientific community, and the environmental NGO sector.

    Management committees

    Below the policy group, other management and consultative functions should be assigned to appropriate committees and sub-committees with well-defined roles and delegations.

    Southern Sydney Catchment Management Board

    The SSCMB is working towards completion of a draft catchment management strategy by year's end. Although it is proceeding diligently towards its nominated goals there is concern at the community level that the Board will lack the powers and resources to coordinate government agency activities, to undertake serious scientific research, and ensure timely implementation of its catchment management plan.

    Current uncertainties

    Since the Botany Bay Program commenced in May 2000, the State governmental context for its work has changed considerably. Further progress with the Program as originally foreshadowed in its terms of reference must necessarily have regard to current uncertainties surrounding the final HRC report, the move to abolish the HNCMT, the long term future of the SSCMB, and DUAP's proposed new planning system under PlanFirst.

    Current relationships between the Botany Bay Program, HRC and SSCMB; future prospects

    The Southern Sydney Catchment Management Board is working to a tight schedule, its work program embracing matters which were included (implicitly or explicitly) in the Terms of Reference for the Botany Bay Program. There would appear to be considerable public benefit in exploiting the newly emerged opportunity for the Botany Bay Program to work with the Board and complement its work.

    It would seem to be inevitable that the SSCMB will itself be addressing many of the tasks set out in the original BBP Agreement. As a consequence, the BBP could logically be modified to include other work of a cognate nature (eg GIS mapping) whilst retaining its original focus on the search for effective long-term mechanisms for Bay management. If the HRC's new catchment management model is introduced there would seem to be no reason why the BBP (perhaps in a different guise) could not work productively with a replacement organisation in due course.

    Additionally, the BBP could be seen (and is so proposed in this report) as the parent of a permanent studies unit for research, training and advocacy focussed on Bay issues. The creation of a body designed from the outset to fulfil such a role might well be regarded as one of the most valuable outcomes of the of the current Program – following or coinciding with the establishment of a new catchment management model.

    A Botany Bay studies unit at UNSW

    A proposal is advanced to create a special unit for Botany Bay studies at the University of New South Wales. This University is located within the Bay catchment, and has a long history of research into Bay issues. The campus is in close proximity to major bayside developments and infrastructure. Initial discussions at a senior level indicate considerable support for the proposal.

    Once established, the unit would act as a resource to support whatever Bay management entity might be in place at a particular time. In the short term the unit could assist the SSCMB with research related to its statutory obligations associated with the preparation of its catchment management strategy.

    Partnerships

    Partnerships have been successful vehicles for real progress in bay management programs elsewhere in Australia and overseas. In Botany Bay, opportunities are already emerging for the early adoption of the partnership model.

    As partnerships evolves - in tandem with the proposed Studies Unit at UNSW – achievement of many of the objectives of the Botany Bay Program would become progressively more feasible. The voluntary involvement of state and federal agencies and of the private corporate sector in appropriate ways would further enrich the scope and potential of the Program, to the mutual benefit of all participants.

    NGO management model

    Non-government environmental organisations in the catchment have put forward a proposed management model. They have also offered a detailed position statement on a 'programs approach' to Bay management. Discussions have commenced on the possibility of establishing a coalition or 'umbrella' group which would link such groups in the region and provide a vehicle for integrated communication and action on environmental matters. Representatives of this incipient coalition have already signalled their strong support for the "partnership" concept and for the proposed Botany Bay Studies Unit at UNSW.

    Sydney Harbour Manager: a useful precedent?

    The 1998 decision of the State Government to create the position of Sydney Harbour Manager within DUAP may offer some lessons for the BBP, notwithstanding the many dissimilarities between the two waterways.


    Chapter 1 BACKGROUND

    1.1 Introduction

    "Saturday 28th April, 1770: At day light in the morning we discovered a Bay which appeard to be tollerably well sheltered from all winds into which I resolved to go with the Ship and with this view sent the Master in the Pinnace to sound the entrance ….

    Sunday 29th April: Saw as we came in on both points of the bay Several of the natives and a few hutts, Men, women and children on the south shore abreast of the Ship, to which place I went in the boats in hopes of speaking with them accompanied by Mr Banks Dr Solander and Tupia…

    Sunday 6th May: ……The great quantity of New Plants etc Mr Banks and Dr Solander collected in this place occasioned my giveing it the name of Botany Bay….it is Capacious safe and commodious…found a very fine stream of fresh water on the north shore …."

    This is Lieutenant (Captain) James Cook, RN, writing about Botany Bay in his Journal of the epic 1770 voyage along the eastern coastline of the continent which later came to be called Australia. (Fig.1)

    Cook dropped anchor in Botany Bay and stayed about 9 days. His stay produced much information of a scientific and cultural kind; but surprisingly he remained unaware of the existence of that other waterway, some 18 kilometres to the north, which in time came to be regarded as one of the greatest harbours in the world.

    Today – 230 years after Cook's visit – that other harbour has become synonymous with the city and metropolis of Sydney. Botany Bay – despite its importance for the Aboriginal people, its historical significance as the bay which sheltered Cook, and as a waterway whose name still provides a clue to what was an explosion of British and French scientific endeavour at the time - awaits a similar level of recognition.

    Certainly the Bay has important associations with Aboriginal culture, with maritime trade, with industry, with aviation, with fishing, with the southward growth of Sydney. But as a focus for official attention in the fields of planning and environmental management its record is poor.

    In particular there has been a continuing reluctance on the part of officialdom to grapple with complex intergovernmental management problems in a climate of increasing community concern over issues surrounding the concept of ecologically sustainable development (ESD) and its application to contemporary resource management.

    Today, as a direct result of a community-based initiative of the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC), the Botany Bay Program offers an opportunity to assist in redressing this unsatisfactory situation. The Program commenced in May 2000 as a federally funded project whose principal aims were to find a satisfactory mechanism for halting further environmental degradation of the Bay and its tributaries, and to identify a Bay management regime based on ESD principles.

    The present report presents for public discussion and comment a distillation of the results of the first twelve months of the Program. It invites a critical and constructive response to the various management possibilities which are discussed in later chapters.
     
    Inline Equation or Image

    Figure 1 Early Map of Botany Bay c. 1780 enlargement


    1.2 The Bay Area – Generally

    In this document (and unless otherwise indicated) references to Botany Bay include references to the Bay itself, the Cooks River catchment to its immediate north, and the Georges River with its various tributaries to the west and southwest. It adjoins the Hawkesbury-Nepean Catchment to the west, the Parramatta River – Sydney Harbour catchment to the north, and the much smaller Hacking River catchment to the south. The catchment's westerly boundary extends as far as the local government areas of Liverpool, Campbelltown and Fairfield. The low ridge between Port Hacking and Botany Bay, flanking Captain Cook Drive from Kurnell, forms the southern limit to the catchment. (Fig.2)

    1.3 Physical Characteristics

    Botany Bay itself can be described as an oval-shaped enclosed embayment, having a waterway area of 80 sq km and a catchment area of about 1100 sq km. It enjoys an open entrance with deep all - weather access, although generally it is relatively shallow with a typical low water depth of about 5m (Fig.3). Its northern shoreline has suffered extensive modification in recent years as a result of developments associated with the airport and Port Botany.

    As a maritime and transport facility the Bay accommodates the biggest crude oil importing port and the largest container port in New South Wales, as well as Sydney Airport – the nation's largest. The catchment also accommodates Bankstown Airport (Australia's busiest in terms of aircraft movements) which flanks the Georges River upstream of Milperra. It supports water-based recreation for residents of the bay and riverside suburbs.

    The system has important habitats for seagrass, mangroves and saltmarsh species as well as many varieties of birds and marine fauna. Despite habitat loss and damage over the years, recreational and commercial fishing, prawning and oyster farming continue – albeit in a limited way. Towra Point is a RAMSAR listed wetland on the southern shore of the Bay.

    The Bay receives waters from the Georges and Cooks Rivers and their various tributaries (as well as the underlying aquifer). The former stream is the larger, having a catchment of 800 sq km and a tidal influence extending some 50km upstream from Dolls Point. It has numerous estuarine tributaries, of which the largest is the Woronora River. A large tract of defence land adjoins the western bank above the confluence with the Woronora. The Georges River is an important recreational waterway for residents of south-western Sydney, with fishing and boating being major pursuits. Sand extraction – now limited to the floodplain - continues upstream of Chipping Norton where a program of rehabilitation of extractive industry has been undertaken. The River suffers heavy pollution loads including sewage, sediments and nutrients. Apart from scattered boat sheds and small-scale day tourist enterprises there are no commercial activities on the river.

    The Cooks River traverses the northern sector of the Bay catchment extending inland to Chullora from its mouth adjacent to Sydney Airport. Its catchment area is about 98 sq km, embracing portions of Strathfield, Botany, Burwood, Canterbury, Marrickville and Rockdale local government areas.

    Heavily polluted, its banks are almost entirely artificial, with several major modifications to alignment and flow characteristics having been implemented over many years. It is exposed to rapid and heavy stormwater runoff from adjoining areas which have been extensively developed since the early days of settlement (including heavy and hazardous industry). Bottom sediments in the river are contaminated. Its major tributary is the Alexandra Canal – the subject of recent studies and improvement strategies. The Cooks River is tidal up to the 11km mark.
     
    Inline Equation or Image

    Figure 2 Botany Bay and Metropolitan Sydney enlargement



     
    Inline Equation or Image

    Figure 3 Botany Bay and Environs enlargement


    1.4 Before European Contact

    1.4.1 Geological origins

    The Botany Basin is a sediment-filled topographic depression located between Port Jackson and Port Hacking, on the southern outskirts of Sydney. The floor of the basin is made up of Hawkesbury Sandstone in the east and Ashfield Shale in the west. The depth of this surface varies from a few metres to over 100 metres, and it is filled with various quaternary sediments.

    The physical system of Botany Bay has been constantly evolving over time. The main phases of geomorphological change have recently been described by Cowell & Kannane, 2000, in Review of Changes to the Shores and Bed of Botany Bay: Past and Future (See Appendix 1). Significant events in the time line reveal that::

    1.4.2 Hydrology

    Water flows into Botany Bay from the ocean, rivers and groundwater sources (Fig.9). The Cooks River discharges into the north-west of the Bay, and the Georges River discharges into the south-west. The Georges River begins in the O'Hares Creek Catchment (a sub-catchment of the Georges River Catchment) at Dharawal, located between Appin and Bulli. The River flows some 96 kilometres before entering Botany Bay, having collected the extensive waters of the its major tributary (the Woronora) along the way.

    The Cooks River has headwaters in Chullora and flows 23 kilometres to Botany Bay. A number of minor tributaries, including the Alexandra Canal, flow into the River

    There are two main groundwater systems present in the Botany Sand Beds. The Botany Sands Aquifer beneath the present adjoining suburbs of Botany and Mascot is the oldest producing groundwater system in modern Australia. The other system is a deeper, confined groundwater system of the porous Triassic rocks that form the base of the Basin.

    Urban change to the terrestrial environment has substantially modified surface drainage within the Botany Basin. Runoff is drained through stormwater channels, with Alexandra Canal and Botany Wetlands draining the northern sector. Drainage systems in the Basin interact with the shallow groundwaters; and the poor condition of much of the infrastructure is reflected in frequent overflows and other system failures.

    1.4.3 Aboriginal Heritage

    NOTE: This is a draft section on Aboriginal community associations with the Botany Bay region. It is a brief overview only and by no means indicates the fullness of Aboriginal people's involvement in and custodianship of this area pre and post 1788. This section has been put together as a result of consultations with community representatives but time constraints have not allowed for discussion of draft prior to publication. Feedback on the draft may lead to some adjustments.
    Suzanne Kenney
    Department of Indigenous Studies
    Macquarie University
    June 2001

    Kamay-Botany Bay is a place of great significance to Aboriginal people. As well as being symbolic of a painful past, it is where generations of Aboriginal families have lived and maintained their communities both before and after 1788. More recently it has been central in reconciliation events as modern Australia slowly comes to terms with the things in its past that have been hidden. In 2001 a commemoration on the 231st anniversary of Cook's landing at Kurnell incorporated an apology to Aboriginal people that was accepted by Mrs Beryl Timbery-Beller on behalf of her community. She was accompanied by other senior women of the La Perouse Aboriginal community, including Mrs Iris Williams and Mrs Gloria Ardler and the ceremony was witnessed by more than 3,000 people.

    Kamay-Botany Bay provides a focus for Aboriginal communities located around its shores, in other parts of Sydney and regional areas. The La Perouse Aboriginal community was once a government mission – during the protection era, in the mid to late nineteenth century, reserves were established here and in other areas to contain and control the Aboriginal population.

    The country of the Gweagal clan of the Dharawal nation is located on the southern shore of the bay. Mrs Beryl Timbery-Beller is a Gweagal elder, and one of the many Aboriginal people actively involved in maintaining relationships with country in and around the Sydney region. Senior members of the Aboriginal community today recall the difficulty of life for Aboriginal people in the early decades of the twentieth century. Other family stories recall other Aboriginal experiences, including those of the people who encountered the British, the French and Russian ships who brought strangers to this place over two hundred years ago.

    The experience of the group of Aboriginal people who lived on their own land at Salt Pan Creek in the early 1900's tells us something of the prevalent community attitudes of the time. In May 1926 the local paper, the St George Call, reported considerable local opposition to the settlement and followed up the story in a number of editions:

    The Hurstville Health Inspector, Mr. H. S. Doig, reported at the last council meeting that he had received complaints from residents in the bush area near Salt Pan, Peakhurst, about the noise and nuisance caused by the Aborigines' camps. With the police, he made the inspection of the area and found that a number of bag humpies and shacks had been illegally erected by visiting and resident blacks. They were spoiling the beautiful bush area, as well as creating a nuisance by brawling and noisy behaviour. Steps were being taken to have the shacks pulled down, and the noisy element removed from the district.

    Following his inspection, in which the health inspector found the houses "surprisingly clean and well kept", he reported that the action he could take at the time was limited, however the group was eventually evicted:

    "The fact that the land is owned by members of the settlement and contain substantial tidy buildings, places a very definite obstacle to any such proposed action."

    Mrs Jean Carter, another senior member of the New South Wales Aboriginal community, was born at Salt Pan Creek. Her family continues to maintain cultural practices in similar ways to other modern Aboriginal families. At different points in their history they have also chosen to incorporate elements of other cultures, including European culture, into their own. Mrs Carter now lives at Nowra, but regularly travels to visit her relatives at La Perouse and other parts of Sydney, just as walking visits took place using the many tracks linking Aboriginal settlements in the past. Some people remember the many walks along some of these tracks to visit the graves of relatives buried in Rookwood and other cemeteries. There are important places for Aboriginal families all around Sydney.

    The mangroves around Wheeney Bay at Salt Pan Creek are the location historically associated with collecting wood for the boomerang making for the communities from this area. In modern times these boomerangs and other crafts are products for sale in Aboriginal retail enterprises. In the past these goods could be traded with neighbours whose areas produced other useful implements.

    Kamay-Botany Bay is part of the Sydney basin. This vast space contains a large collection of rock-art sites considered to be one of the most significant in the world. There are important carved figures on the bay itself. These and other occupation sites indicate just some of the activity in the area, as many have been destroyed when roads and buildings have been erected. Inland from the bay, a number of gallery sites near Liverpool contain depictions of bull figures dating the use of these caves to after 1788. These bull figures are generally agreed to represent the historic events around the escape of the First Fleet's cattle (2 bulls and 5 cows) in mid-1788 from Sydney. It seems these cattle wandered across the Georges River basin. A herd of 61 cattle were discovered by the Governor, John Hunter, and Henry Hacking when their party visited a place called Baragil or Baragal. Hunter gave Baragal the new name of Cowpastures – the present suburb of Camden. By 1801, when Governor King decided to attempt a muster, the flock was said to number five or six hundred.

    The present generations of Aboriginal people living in the Kamay-Botany Bay area include traditional custodians who have responsibilities for caring for country. Their rights and responsibilities as traditional people should be supported and respected.

    1.5 1770 to the Dawn of the New Millennium

    Botany Bay is the site of two of the earliest European landings in Australia. Captain (Lieutenant) James Cook anchored near Kurnell and went ashore on April 29, 1770. For eight days he and his team of scientists, seamen and marines explored and mapped the area. However, when the First Fleet arrived on the east coast of Australia in 1788, Port Jackson was thought to be a more suitable focus for colonisation.

    The French also have a history in Botany Bay, landing at La Perouse in January 1788 and staying to conduct research for six weeks. A few years later, in October 1795, Matthew Flinders and George Bass, in their tiny vessel Tom Thumb, entered Botany Bay and explored the lower reaches of the Georges River as far as present-day Bankstown.

    Development in the catchment was slow prior to the construction of roads, tramways and train lines in and around the area. However, the Bay has long been used for fishing and much of the surrounding land was cleared for timber. Dunes on Kurnell peninsula were cleared in the 1800s for cattle grazing. Urban development within the Botany Bay catchment occurred rapidly in the late 1800s, and by 1890 the Cooks River was badly polluted, primarily by sewage.

    Today the Bay catchment accommodates a population which is approaching two million people, and supports a wide range of landuse including industrial, commercial, residential, National Parks and numerous reserves and open spaces. Along the Georges and Woronora Rivers, urban development and subdivision continues as the metropolis expands further to the south-west.

    Downstream, Bay foreshores have undergone extensive change and development, involving dredging and reclamation of land for seaport and airport facilities. Governments have promoted works which have brought significant changes to the form, visual character and geomorphology of the Bay area. In particular, the last 30 years have seen the northern foreshores of the Bay transformed due to expansion of the airport; the construction of the Port Botany Terminal; freeway and bridge construction; the replacement of obsolete industrial sites with housing; the construction of groynes on the Kurnell and western shores; habitat disturbance; and other interventions. (Table 1)
     
    Table 1: Period 1860s – 1999 Changes to Botany Bay with possible impacts on geomorphology (SELECT LIST ONLY)

    YEAR

    PHYSICAL EVENTS, CIVIL ENGINEERING WORKS, ETC

    Pr-1860s

    Timber clearing from Woolooware and Kurnell

    1886

    Dredging of lower reaches of the Cooks River

    1912

    Rock ballast wall at Dolls Point – Lady Robinsons Beach –constructed

    1936

    Seawall at Lady Robinsons beach extended

    1940

    Regular sand extraction from Kurnell commences

    1946

    Realignment of mouth of Cooks River commences

    1948-53

    Maritime Service Board dredging of north-western area adjacent to Botany Beach; Boral Matraville refinery built

    1950s

    Diversion of mouth of Cooks River as part of Sydney Airport development; levelling of dunes behind Lady Robinsons Beach accompanied by partial landfill

    1952

    Reclamation of Cooks River channel to the west

    1953-55

    Dredging of an approach channel off the Australian Oil Refineries (AOR) Jetty to allow for entry of deep draft tankers

    1955

    Caltex Oil Refinery at Kurnell approach channel dredging and jetty

    1960

    Further dredging for tankers in the AOR Mooring Basin; submarine terminal built and pipeline laid between northern and southern shores

    1964-65

    Deepening of the approach channel to the AOR mooring basin

    1964-66

    Dredging off Lady Robinson's beach, Kyeemagh, for initial extension of Sydney Airport north-south runway into Botany Bay

    1965

    Rock wall at Silver beach; commencement of nourishing and armouring activities at Lady Robinsons Beach.

    1966

    Reclamation of wetlands for the International Airport terminal using material dredged from the Bay floor adjacent to first runway dredged areas

    1970

    Dredging from the entrance of Botany Bay and off Lady Robinson's beach, Monterey, for final extension of north-south runway (8 million cubic metres dredged from bay)

    1970

    Construction of eight rock groynes along Silver Beach and major sand nourishment of beach (128,000 cubic metres)

    1970-71

    Final 2.4km airport extension into the Bay

    1972

    MSB single buoy mooring (and oil transfer) terminal off Yarra Bay (North Botany Bay)

    1971-78

    Dredging and reclamation work in Port Botany resulting in present beach Shoreline

    1977

    Commencement of Stage 2, Port Botany development

    1976-78

    Sand nourishment of Yarra Beach and construction of groynes at Yarra and Frenchman's Bay Beaches

    1980-81

    Total Oil Refinery expansion

    1992-93

    Construction Sydney Airport Third Runway – Federal Airports Corporation

    1997

    Proposals for expansion of Port Botany put forward by Sydney Ports; construction of 8 groynes at southern end of Lady Robinsons Beach

    Source: SSROC: State of Botany Bay, 1998


    The Cooks River, running from Chullora in the west to Botany Bay in the east, has a long history of man-made change. Originally flowing through a floodplain, the River and the area surrounding it have been decisively and irreversibly transformed.

    In the upper reaches, riverbanks were concreted in 1925. The Cooks River Improvement Act of 1946 encouraged the reclamation of wetlands along the River. In 1952 the mouth of the River was relocated as part of reconstruction and extension works at Sydney Airport. In addition to these changes to the River itself, the catchment as a whole has experienced rapid urbanisation and industrial development, resulting in today's highly polluted and degraded stream.

    Today, the Botany Bay-Georges River catchment downstream of Campbelltown is highly urbanised. The catchment contains major transport corridors including the M5 Motorway, numerous heavy railway lines, Kingsford Smith Airport and Bankstown Airport. Existing alongside the heavily urbanised areas of the catchment are sizeable tracts of natural areas, including national parks and reserves, Crown lands and Federal Army land.

    The Georges River and its surrounding catchment have also undergone significant modification. The Georges has not seen such extensive engineered alterations as has the Cooks, but the surrounding land has undergone similarly rapid urbanisation.

    The Georges catchment now supports a resident population of more than one million people, along with commercial and large-scale industrial development – all of which have contributed to degradation of the environment of both the River and surrounding lands. The significant loss of native habitats and vegetation communities, associated with land clearance and increased runoff into the River, has been particularly evident.

    Valued Aboriginal sites, places and relics have also suffered extensively as wetlands have been disturbed or filled and as riparian vegetation and bushland has been destroyed. As things currently stand, arrangements for the care and protection of these priceless cultural assets on a catchment basis are clearly inadequate.

    Bankstown Airport, the nation's busiest in terms of annual aircraft movements, is a major feature within the Georges River catchment. It is the centre of the general aviation industry in Australia and has recently (12/2000) been officially cited as a possible second airport for regional passenger traffic in NSW. The airport drains to the nearby Georges River to the east of Chipping Norton.

    1.6 Biophysical History

    Biophysical aspects of the Botany Bay catchment are thought to have changed significantly over time. Examples include:

    1.7 The Future

    This discussion paper comes at a time of widespread public debate regarding ways and means of bringing reality into the ESD policy arena and into urban and environmental management programs in particular. Very significantly, it follows the release of the New South Wales Healthy Rivers Commission (HRC) draft report on the Independent Inquiry into the Georges River and Botany Bay System, and the contemporaneous establishment of the Southern Sydney Catchment Management Board (SSCMB).

    Since the 1987 report of the World Commission on Environment and Development (Our Common Future) governments worldwide have been endeavouring to find holistic approaches to complex environmental problems. Coastlines, rivers, estuaries and urban harbours have been identified as being particularly problematical in this regard. Over the very same period, many countries – including Australia – have adopted policies and programs designed to alleviate if not halt the continuing degradation of these environmental resources. Recent Australian publications of relevance include the NSW Coastal Policy and Australian Estuaries: a framework for management (CRC for Coastal Zone, Estuary and Waterway Management, 2001).

    The Botany Bay Program fits into this evolutionary process amidst indications from most parties that present management arrangements are far from ideal and that the time is right for the development of a more appropriate management regime for the Bay. This view is shared by the HRC in its draft report of October 2000, and is reflected in the establishment of the SSCMB.

    At this threshold moment, basic management options include the following:

    The first option is inconsistent with the terms of reference of the BBP.

    The second option has attractions as a short-term expedient, bringing some progress at the margin in ESD terms and on-ground improvements whilst sidestepping the fundamental policy challenge implicit in the "whole of government" approach to resource management and accountability.

    The third option stands as an ideal and can be compared to other management models which (on the basis of available information) are operating successfully in other places and which have lessons for Botany Bay. Its adoption would require the prior dissolution of the SSCMB – or the reshaping of the Board to fit the new model.

    The fourth option would not involve any change to existing governmental or bureaucratic arrangements. Once in place, the new 'resource centre' would be available to all agencies, local councils, NGOs and other parties as an independent information and networking source.

    The final option is to be encouraged at any time – whether or not there is a new management entity introduced. Such partnerships have proved their value in many other places and contexts, and can have a powerful influence on the resource management process.

    Later chapters provide more detailed contextual material to assist in a consideration of these options.


    Chapter 2 THE CONTEXT FOR THE BOTANY BAY PROGRAM

    2.1 Introduction

    Early in 1998, the six Bay-side local government councils of Botany Bay, Hurstville, Kogarah, Randwick, Rockdale and Sutherland Shire responded to community concerns about the apparent decline in the Bay's environmental quality by launching the Reclaim the Bay campaign. Their central purpose was to establish a mechanism for improving and protecting the environment and ecology of the Bay over time.

    Related aims included a concerted effort to increase public and official awareness of Botany Bay's plight, and to set in place a program and mechanisms for monitoring changes in the Bay's biodiversity profile over a 12 year period.

    In August 1998 the first initiative of the Reclaim the Bay campaign bore fruit with the release of the State of the Bay report. This seminal document threw light on the lack of a Bay-focussed management regime and included historical evidence of the Bay's steady environmental deterioration. (State of Botany Bay: Report of the Working Party - Bay Councils, July 1998)

    The State of the Bay report concluded that better planning and management for the Bay and its entire catchment were vital if environmental qualities were to be improved. Responsibility for action was seen as resting with all levels of government as well as with the community at large.

    Coincidental action included the successful application by the SSROC for federal government funding. In August 1999 SSROC endorsed an agreement with the Federal Department of Environment and Heritage (Environment Australia) for the development of a framework for the integrated planning of the Botany Bay catchment. The BBP was born; and work commenced in May 2000.

    2.2 International Context

    The Botany Bay program sits within a global context of growing official concerns for coastal and estuary eco-systems and – more specifically – for bays and waterways which are closely associated with big cities.

    The 1972 Stockholm Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment was the first of many international agreements and protocols seeking to establish global standards for improving human settlements. By 1987 the concept of ecologically sustainable development (ESD) had been explored, it being presented in the seminal report of the World Commission on Environment and Development – Our Common Future.

    In 1992 the UN Conference on Environment and Development produced the Rio Declaration and Agenda 21 – both of which were endorsed by Australia. In 1996, the United Nations Habitat Conference in Istanbul produced a declaration emphasising the importance of partnerships in dealing with complex urban environmental problems, including those associated with coastal cities. The declaration of 1998 as the International Year of the Ocean by the UN was a further step along the road towards a holistic approach to coastal management.

    Guidelines on coastal management have been produced by the UN Department of International Economic and Social Affairs, the UN Environment Program, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. The World Bank and the Asian Development Bank have also made significant contributions to the growing international literature on what has come to be referred to by the generic description of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM).

    Kay and Alder (1999) have reviewed this literature in depth. They quote the World Bank 1993 view that the three operational objectives of ICZM are

    This theme is reflected throughout the literature. ICZM is now recognised internationally as a legitimate area for governmental action – whether that be by way of unilateral decision at national government level, or by way of bilateral or multilateral agreements between governments at different levels.

    Parallelling the emergence of ICZM as a responsibility of governments worldwide has been the development of appropriate legislation, management tools and techniques. These include strategic environmental assessment, cumulative impact assessment, technology assessment, risk assessment, and the adoption of the precautionary principle in decision-making. A common theme has been the recognition that what might be termed the "whole of government" approach may well be the most appropriate way forward – assuming that a serious commitment to this notion was built in to the relevant sectoral policies and agency agendas.

    In the field of habitat conservation, Botany Bay is the focus of three international agreements, these being the China Australia Migratory Birds Agreement, the Japan MBA, and the Ramsar Convention on Migratory Wader Birds. The Bay has also attracted international scientific interest in groundwater studies and marine habitats generally.

    2.3 National Context

    The title Botany Bay Program was adopted at the outset to facilitate reference to the project whose official title is the Development of a Framework for the Integrated Planning of Botany Bay Catchment. The Program is in place as a direct result of the 1999 agreement between the Commonwealth of Australia and SSROC.

    That agreement was executed within the framework of the federal Coastal and Marine Planning Program (CMPP), and bound the Department of the Environment and Heritage (Environment Australia) and SSROC (as the executing agency). The CMPP is a federal Coasts and Clean Seas financial assistance program designed to assist local and state / territory governments to increase their coverage and support for quality coastal and marine planning.

    The overall aim of the CMPP is to improve the management of actual and potential activities which generate negative environmental impacts; and to reduce conflicts between the uses (and users) of coastal and marine resources. Cognate federal government initiatives include the work on the Commonwealth Coastal Policy (May 1995) and the 1992 National Strategy for ESD.

    To the extent that parts of the Bay environment are the setting for Commonwealth Government activities they will be subject to the provisions of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act of 1999. The objects of that Act (summarised) are:

    Within the Bay area, the Commonwealth is responsible for ownership and management of the large defence estate at Holsworthy – Ingleburn, and Kingsford Smith and Bankstown Airports pursuant to the Airports Act 1996 and congruent regulations. Responsibility for international agreements on migratory bird habitats in the Bay also lies with the Commonwealth.

    2.4 State Context

    New South Wales government agencies have a significant influence on development patterns, the construction and distribution of infrastructure, land use and environmental planning, and other activities within the Botany Bay catchment. State laws, regulations, policies and other instruments apply both to particular parts of the Bay and to the Bay in its entirety.

    Behind the various legal, regulatory and advisory layers of government there is an array of departments, authorities, and special-purpose bodies which have responsibilities for activities in the Bay. Some of these (such as the Department of Urban Affairs and Planning) have a statewide jurisdiction; others (such as the Sydney Ports Corporation and the recently created Southern Sydney Catchment Management Board) have a more focussed role.

    The actions of official agencies working within their respective jurisdictions can and do affect the Bay environment – occasionally in profound ways. Whether it be by way of a regulatory role, or the construction of new infrastructure, or the management of existing infrastructure and facilities, such interventions will have impacts – for better or worse – on the quality of the environment in the locality concerned. It follows that a successful environmental strategy for Botany Bay must incorporate firm provisions for the application of the concept of "whole-of-government" to Bay decision-making processes.

    Chapter 3 provides an overview of the current roles, responsibilities and jurisdictions of major State and other government agencies currently involved in Bay management. In addition, several recent State government initiatives are of particular relevance to the Botany Bay Program.

    The Southern Sydney Catchment Management Board - was established in 2000 and commenced its operations towards the end of that year (several months after the launch of the BBP). The Board is required by statute to produce a draft Catchment Management Plan, the key elements of which must be submitted to the Minister within the first 12 operational months (ie. by October 2001).

    The Board has five statutory functions: -

    i. to identify the critical opportunities, problems and threats associated with the use of natural resources so as to support rural production and to protect the environment

    ii. to identify the critical first order objectives and targets for the management of natural resources…

    iii. to develop management options, strategies and actions to address the identified objectives and targets

    iv. to assist in developing a greater understanding within the community of the issues identified and action required to support rural production and protect the environment

    v. and to initiate proposals for projects to achieve those functions and assess projects submitted for (Commonwealth and State) funding.

    The SSCMB's area of concern is the entire catchment of the Bay and its various tributaries – including the Kurnell Peninsula, the Eastern Beaches, Cooks and Georges River, including the Woronora River (Fig. 4). Congruence with the area which is the concern of the BBP is complete, offering opportunities for complementary action.

    The Draft Report of the Independent Inquiry into the Georges River – Botany Bay System was released for public comment by the NSW Healthy Rivers Commission in October 2000. This document ran to 178 pages of information covering a wide range of management problems and issues as well as a well-documented description of the catchment. The area covered by the HRC Inquiry is virtually identical to that which is now the responsibility of the SSCMB – and which (as has already been noted) is also the geographical framework for the BBP (Fig. 5). The Inquiry's first recommendation was for the development and endorsement by government of "a new integrated management framework for Botany Bay" (HRC, 2000, 56).

    Plan First – Planning in Partnership is a review of the NSW plan making system which is currently being undertaken by the Department of Urban Affairs and Planning (DUAP). In its November 2000 White Paper, a new framework for strategic planning at the regional level is proposed. According to the White Paper (DUAP, 2000, p31 et seq), the new system will encourage the formulation of regional strategies in which Government policy relating to environmental planning and management will be contained in, or linked to, one whole of government planning document so that all agencies are working towards achieving common outcomes for a region. Regional strategies will be the principal policy document for a region and inform budget allocation processes (emph. added).

    The White Paper goes on to foreshadow that (for example) the objectives and action targets of catchment management plans would be incorporated into regional strategies. Measures for monitoring, evaluating and regulating would be also be part of the new regional planning system. It could reasonably be surmised that there will be much common ground between regional strategies as proposed by DUAP and the catchment management plans required of the new CMBs. In this context the BBP may offer opportunities for a partnership to test or trial the new planning system within the environmental parameters discussed elsewhere in this paper.

    2.5 A Regional Focus

    Regional-level planning and analysis confer a number of advantages that are absent from local and national – level planning. At the regional level, it is possible to address and resolve problems faced by entire ecosystems. Very often these issues cross a number of jurisdictions and can only be effectively addressed with a regional geographic focus (Jones and Westmacott, 1993)

    Today there is a widespread emphasis on regionalism evident in planning literature and in practice both locally and abroad. The adoption of a regional framework for studying, analysing and managing spatially extensive and complex environmental resources is becoming more frequent, indicating official recognition that ecological relationships have no respect for culturally imposed territorial boundaries or the precision of cadastral maps.

    Regional environmental planning is not a new concept in NSW, given its origins in the 1979 Environmental Planning and Assessment Act. A recent draft REP of particular relevance to Botany Bay is the Shaping the Georges River Catchment – Greater Metropolitan Regional Environmental Plan No 2. The REP is linked to the Georges River Regional Planning Strategy; according to the Minister for Urban Affairs and Planning, "the Strategy and the REP represent the Government's ongoing determination to protect the natural resources of the Georges River Catchment…community and government (will be united) with a common purpose".

    Work on the Georges River REP is in hand at the time of writing. It includes studies of terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity; two detailed studies on foreshore environmental aspects and improvement works; and two studies of cultural heritage (Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal). The area covered by the REP is the entire catchment of the river, embracing parts of the local government areas of Bankstown, Blacktown, Camden, Campbelltown, Canterbury, Fairfield, Holroyd, Hurstville, Kogarah, Liverpool, Rockdale, Sutherland Shire, Wollondilly and Wollongong (Fig. 6).
     
    Inline Equation or Image

    Figure 4 Southern Sydney Catchment Management Board Area enlargement



     
    Inline Equation or Image

    Figure 5 Georges River – Cooks River and Botany Bay Catchments enlargement


    At the metropolitan level, a fresh insight into the geography of the region can be obtained by examining the catchment management arrangements which are currently in place within the Sydney basin. Three major drainage systems are evident. (Fig. 7)

    When current Catchment Management Plans are finalised, all of these distinct drainage systems will have been covered by dedicated management arrangements of one kind or another. It will then be possible (and for the purposes of metropolitan planning and resource management) to view the entire metropolitan region as a cluster of catchments or ecosystems, each potentially having its own management structure based on natural rather than cultural boundaries (Fig. 7).

    2.6 Local Context

    2.6.1 Generally: the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils

    Botany Bay can be seen as a discrete eco-system in its own right. It can also be viewed as a part of the wider Sydney metropolitan region, or as a collection of suburbs, localities and local government authorities.
     
    Inline Equation or Image

    Figure 6 Area Covered by Georges River Greater Metropolitan Regional Environmental Plan No.2 enlargement



     
    Inline Equation or Image

    Figure 7 Principal Drainage Catchments in the Sydney Region enlargement


    Twelve of these last-mentioned bodies (being members of SSROC) took a lead role in bringing the current Program into being, they being Bankstown, Botany Bay, Canterbury, Hurstville, Kogarah, Marrickville, Randwick, Rockdale, South Sydney, Sutherland Shire, Waverley and Woollahra (Fig. 8). All these Councils have similar statutory responsibilities for planning and environmental management. At the same time, their membership of the SSROC reflects a collective recognition that there are many 'local' problems whose resolution can only be achieved by way of collaboration.

    Table 2 provides some indicators of the current size and resource base of the 12 SSROC Councils (financial year 1999-2000).
     
    Table 2: SSROC Statistical indicators 1999 – 2000

    LGA

    Population

    Area (km2)

    Dwellings

    Households

    *Total revenue '98-'99 - $'000

    *Total operating expenses '98-99 $'M

    Bankstown

    157735

    78

    54897

    51408

    85142

    76.71

    Botany

    34702

    27

    13207

    12266

    26165

    27.31

    Canterbury

    132360

    33

    48231

    44486

    55423

    51.82

    Hurstville

    65392

    25

    25499

    23505

    36217

    34.80

    Kogarah

    47618

    20

    18564

    16825

    22408

    23.14

    Marrickville

    76017

    16

    31804

    28394

    50887

    47.68

    Randwick

    118905

    37

    49202

    44357

    59091

    56.39

    Rockdale

    84847

    29

    34279

    30905

    40079

    36.76

    South Sydney

    82960

    18

    41203

    33424

    85334

    94.34

    Sutherland Shire

    194105

    371

    72365

    66964

    127713

    108.13

    Waverley

    61674

    9

    29202

    25249

    41643

    40.78

    Woollahra

    50169

    12

    25110

    20826

    37953

    45.26

    SSROC

    1106484

    675

    443563

    398609

    668055

    643.12

    Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1996 Census of Population & Housing
    Source: NSW Department of Local Government, 1999, Comparative Information on NSW Local Government Councils for 1998-1999


    Within SSROC, the population rose from 1,076, 310 persons in 1991 to 1,106,484 in 1996 – a growth of 2.8% overall (or 0.7% pa).

    2.6.2 Local Government

    Outside the cluster of Councils which comprise SSROC are those which have jurisdiction over lands within the upper Georges and Cooks River catchments. These include Ashfield, Auburn, Blacktown, Burwood, Camden, Campbelltown, Fairfield, Holroyd, Liverpool, Strathfield, Wollondilly and Wollongong. In total, 24 out of the 40 odd local government authorities in metropolitan Sydney are involved in BB catchment management activities of one kind or another. In 1996 the total population of these 24 Councils was 2.265 million – approaching 10% of the national total - with a total operating expenditure of $1270.2 million (Source: ABS).
     
    Inline Equation or Image

    Figure 8 Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (Area of jurisdictions) enlargement



     
    Inline Equation or Image

    Figure 9 Simplified map of Botany Bay catchment system enlargement


    The recent draft report of the HRC provides evidence of the extent of local government involvement in current catchment management arrangements. In so far as stormwater is concerned, a significant finding of the HRC was that "under current arrangements, the linkage between causation and pricing is broken as residents in the upper catchment that contribute to the stormwater problem are not required to meet the costs incurred by the agency that manages the infrastructure at the bottom of the catchment" -ie Sydney Water. (HRC, 2000, p.72).

    This finding highlights a generally held view that throughout the upper catchments in particular there is widespread ignorance of the geographical character of the drainage system, and a corresponding reluctance to engage in the search for solutions to catchment-wide problems – especially those emerging at the downstream end (Fig.9).

    Notwithstanding possible differences in attitudes and policies relating to catchment issues, all Councils within the area are active in environmental improvement programs – either unilaterally or through joint ventures with neighbouring Councils. Table 3 lists issues and projects currently being pursued by SSROC member Councils. (Source: SSROC Council State of Environment Reports)

    Table 3 : Current and recent environmental issues/projects by SSROC Councils and related organisations (SELECTION ONLY) (reformatted in this document as a list)

    Bankstown Council (SoE 2000)

    ISSUES

    PROJECTS

    Botany Bay Council (SOE 2000)

    ISSUES

    PROJECTS

    Canterbury Council (SOE 2000)

    ISSUES

    PROJECTS

    Hurstville Council (SOE 1997)

    ISSUES

    PROJECTS

    Kogarah Council (SOE, 1999)

    ISSUES

    PROJECTS

    Marrickville Council (SOE 2000)

    ISSUES

    PROJECTS

    Randwick Council (SOE 1997)

    ISSUES

    PROJECTS

    Rockdale Council (SOE 1999-2000)

    ISSUES

    Occasional algal blooms and fish kills in Scarborough Ponds

    PROJECTS

    South Sydney Council (SOE 2000)

    ISSUES

    PROJECTS

    Sutherland Shire Council (SOE 1999-2000)

    ISSUES

    PROJECTS

    The standard of State of Environment reporting varies throughout the catchment; but there are signs of movement towards a general acceptance of the need to adopt 'sustainability indicators' of catchment health as proposed by ANZECC. Such indicators might be physical, chemical, biological, socioeconomic – applied through the "condition – pressure – response" framework as a mean of measuring environmental impacts using factual data.

    The Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) has recently established a significant precedent by commissioning a regional State of the Environment Report covering the territories of its 10 constituent local government authorities. This document, prepared by the University of Western Sydney in association with the HNCMT, broke new ground with its coverage – for the first time in Sydney – of potential environmental responses in addition to those traditionally covered within the Pressure – State – Response cycle.

    The WSROC SoE report found that current indicators were inadequate for the purposes of effective regional decision-making on sustainable environmental futures, and it proposed the adoption of future indicators. Key themes covered in the report were land, air, water, biodiversity, noise, waste, Aboriginal heritage, and heritage and community. The development of sustainability indicators may well point to a significant advance in regard to SoE reporting at a regional or catchment level. Such work is consistent with comments on future directions in environmental reporting in the NSW State of the Environment Report 2000 (EPA, 2000, p25).

    Other projects demanding a mention here include the now internationally acclaimed work by Fairfield City and the Australian Conservation Foundation on the "Restoring the Waters" restoration project; the SSROC "Do it right on Site: campaign; and the HNCMT "Keep the Soil on Site" Program. The Cooks River Environmental Assessment and Education Project is another, being a joint venture of the 13 Councils along the River.

    2.6.3 Council Groupings

    At least 11 other groupings, (including the SSROC counterpart organisation of WSROC) have emerged as a result of decisions to collaborate on common concerns such as planning policy, environmental management, and research (see Table 4 - possibly incomplete). The Table includes Councils which are outside the immediate Botany Bay catchment but which have various affiliations with catchment councils (Fig.10).

    Table 4: Groupings of Councils tackling environmental issues in the catchment (reformatted in this document as a list) Table 4:

    Groupings of Councils tackling environmental issues in the catchment (reformatted in this document as a list)

    Group: Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC)
    Councils: Bankstown, Botany Bay, Canterbury, Hurstville, Kogarah, Marrickville, Randwick, Rockdale, South Sydney, Sutherland Shire, Waverley, Woollahra

    Group: Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC)
    Councils: Blue Mountains, Liverpool, Penrith, Hawkesbury, Baulkham Hills, Parramatta, Holroyd, Fairfield, Blacktown

    Group: Southern Sydney Catchment Management Board
    Councils: Covers 21 Council areas with nature conservation, local government, natural resource managers and natural resource users, State Government and Aboriginal representatives.

    Group: Georges River Combined Councils Committee
    Councils: Bankstown, Hurstville, Kogarah, Sutherland Shire, Rockdale, Fairfield, Liverpool, Wollondilly, Campbelltown

    Group: Cooks River Environmental Assessment and Education Project
    Councils: 13 Cooks River councils: Auburn, Bankstown, Botany Bay, Burwood, Canterbury Hurstville, Kogarah, Marrickville, Randwick, Rockdale, South Sydney, Strathfield - coordinated by Canterbury

    Group: Cooks River Association of Councils
    Councils: Same as above

    Group: Cooks River Valley Association
    Councils: Canterbury, Marrickville, Rockdale

    Group: Cooks River Foreshores Working Group
    Councils: Bankstown, Strathfield, Burwood, Canterbury, Marrickville, Rockdale

    Group: Waste management Groups
    Councils: Southern Sydney Waste Board –Botany Bay, Canterbury, Hurstville, Kogarah, Marrickville, Randwick, Rockdale, South Sydney, Sutherland Shire, Waverley, Woollahra

    Group: Stormwater management plan Groups
    Councils: Mid Georges River – Liverpool, Bankstown Salt Pan Creek – Canterbury, Hurstville, Bankstown Duck – Parramatta, Auburn, Holroyd, Bankstown Prospect – Fairfield, Holroyd, Liverpool, Bankstown Cooks – 12 councils (incl Rockdale) Lower Georges River – Rockdale, Kogarah, Hurstville, Sutherland Shire Mill Pond Creek – Botany Bay

    Group: St George Councils (reg. transport strategy)
    Councils:  Rockdale City Council, Kogarah, Hurstville

    Group: Sydney Coastal Councils:
    Councils: Botany Bay, Hornsby, Leichhardt, Manly, Mosman, North Sydney, Pittwater, Randwick, Rockdale, South Sydney, Sutherland Shire, Sydney, Warringah, Waverley, Willoughby, Woollahra

    2.6.4 South Sydney Development Corporation

    The Corporation was established by the State Government in 1996 to facilitate the revitalisation of that part of inner Sydney which extends in a generally southwards direction from Central railway to Botany Bay. Amongst its responsibilities is the coordination of remediation works on the Alexandra Canal, a facility owned by Sydney Water and notorious for its heavy load of pollutants arising from its role as a stormwater channel over many years. The Corporation has prepared a master plan for the canal – seen as having potential as a major recreational, ecological and visual water asset within the Cooks River system.

    2.6.5 Sydney Coastal Councils Group

    In 1989, 16 coastal local government councils in metropolitan Sydney joined forces to promote coordination on environmental issues relating to the sustainable management of the urban coastal environment. Their combined territory includes the waterways of Pittwater, Port Jackson, Botany Bay and Port Hacking.

    Amongst the Group's achievements are several which are of benefit to Botany Bay. The Sydney Regional Coastal Management Strategy provides an overall policy framework for managing the city coastline. The recently released draft Model Development Control Plan: Protecting Sydney's Wetlands is intended for wide use amongst local authorities in particular as they deal with development in or near wetlands. The group's website offers information on the groups activities and on coastal management issues generally. In association with DUAP the Group is working on a digital mapping facility which, when complete and commissioned, will offer wetland mapping information on-line to the wider community.
     
    Inline Equation or Image

    Figure 10 Current groupings and joint ventures involving local councils in the Botany Bay and adjoining catchments (possibly incomplete) enlargement


    2.6.6 Non-government and environmental groups

    Non-government organisations (NGOs) are active throughout the catchment in many fields of interest including the commercial, industrial, recreational and sporting sectors. In the NGO sector, environment groups have consistently taken a leadership role in helping to identify catchment management issues of concern to local communities as well as to wider regional constituencies. Indeed, it was largely due to pressure from the environmental NGOs in the catchment that the early moves behind the BBP were made.

    As evidenced from the experience of successful bay management programs elsewhere in Australia and overseas, there would seem to be a clear mandate for the involvement of the NGO sector in future Botany Bay management arrangements.

    An early initiative of the Botany Bay Program was to commission the Sydney Total Environment Centre to organise a forum of key environmental groups within the Bay area. Invitations went to some 33 local groups and to 12 coalition or peak groups. The results of the forum are presented at Appendix 2. Subsequently, the Program received a submission addressing Bay management issues from a loose coalition of community-based conservation organisations. This submission is presented at Appendix 3.

    At the time of writing, key environmental groups in the catchment have moved towards the establishment of a coalition. This historically significant initiative has the potential to provide a coherent and unified voice to enable major catchment-wide environmental concerns to be transmitted to government. It will also create a valuable community-based resource which would complement the efforts of scientists, educators and local policy makers.

    2.6.7 The Aboriginal community

    The traditional custodial role of the Aboriginal community in the catchment is being maintained through individual and joint-venture projects which reflect the fact that the protection and maintenance of cultural assets is now recognised as both a civic and governmental responsibility. Increasingly, Aboriginal project officers are being employed in catchment Councils (as exemplified by Ms Cheryl Greenham's work on Hurstville City Council's Aboriginal Written and Oral History Project).

    Other successful projects include:

  • the design and construction of the Marton Park Heritage Trail and Wetland Track Project at Kurnell ( a partnership between Kurranulla Aboriginal Corporation, Sutherland Shire Council, NPWS, and Gandangara Local Aboriginal Land Council;
  • inclusion of Aboriginal and custodial representatives in a Plan of Management being developed by Bankstown City Council for the Georges River Foreshore;
  • consultation with the Salt Pan Creek community on management and interpretation issues.

    Such projects represent important steps in the reconciliation process, and help to further improve relations between Aboriginals and the wider community within the Bay area. The Bay Program – seen as an exercise in holistic resource management - stands to benefit from the transfer of Aboriginal knowledge about land and water management, as well as the traditional approach to conservation.


    Chapter 3 THE BAY IN 2001 – CURRENT MANAGEMENT ARRANGEMENTS

    3.1 Generally

    Botany Bay and its catchment are not managed in any formal sense of the word. There is a Catchment Management Board – but it is only one of a number of identical boards which have been established by the State Government through the Department of Land and Water Conservation and does not enjoy any unique jurisdictional arrangements which spring from the particularities of the Bay's historical, environmental or socioeconomic qualities.

    Unlike Sydney Harbour, the Bay - seen as a distinct place -has no political champion. For Sydney Harbour the Government has established the Office of Sydney Harbour Manager, reporting to a senior Cabinet Minister. There is no Botany Bay Office in Macquarie Street: no Minister – no agency of State government - no dedicated management entity with responsibilities and resources to ensure that environmental care, improvement, protection, research, and community education actually occur in a planned and determined way over time.

    Depending on prevailing policy frameworks and their respective pieces of enabling legislation, certain State agencies and corporations have jurisdictions which empower them to manage, control, regulate, guide, plan or build within the Bay area. Such activities are typically driven by the particular statutory responsibilities of the body in question. They may be sporadic (such as the production of a plan of management for a particular site or resource) or they may be ongoing (such as the management of a national park or recreation reserve). They may be to do with "bricks and mortar" projects such as a major road or port or drainage facility; or they may be of a regulatory nature, involving a degree of control or intervention or prohibition over private sector developments.

    Occasionally, two or more bodies will collaborate in a joint venture as will groups of local authorities. Such projects demonstrate that there is no fundamental restriction on inter-agency or inter-council collaboration. Rather is it the case that opportunities of this kind are often seen as being outside the 'core business' of the parties concerned, and they will only emerge when driven by an enthusiastic leader who can see – and push for – the benefits of a combined operation or partnership.

    Whilst the "whole of government " ethos is referred to in many an official document, its application in the field would appear to be rare. Examples of successful 'whole of government' projects are rarely publicised as such. The establishment of the Southern Sydney Catchment Management Board might be seen as a step in the right direction but it has yet to 'deliver' and its future operational status is far from clear.

    The result is a confusing maze of responsibilities, duties, policy statements, plans and programs which do not provide an easy answer to fundamental questions which the wider community appears to be asking.

    Who is in charge?

    What is government doing to help us protect the Bay and restore its environmental integrity?

    How much is government spending on Bay improvements, and where are the dollars being spent?

    Is there a better way of spending the dollars?

    3.2 Government and the Bay Area

    Current governmental responsibilities for the Bay area are summarised in Table 5. Information has been derived from various sources including the Healthy Rivers Commission (HRC, 2000). No single agency stands out as the primary custodian for the Bay – a reality emphasising the fact that current jurisdictions in government are unequal to the task of managing ecosystems. New models are clearly needed.

    Table 5 includes Commonwealth as well as State government agencies, reflecting the fact that the Bay area has national as well as state significance. Port Botany is the State's foremost container terminal and provides specialist facilities for bulk liquid transfer and storage – both of which are the result of major public investment in infrastructure and long term port planning. The presence of the nation's premier airport (being the entry point for the majority of international visitors) is highly significant, given the airport's massive extensions into the Bay and the significant impacts of those extensions on the Bay's environment.

    The development of these nationally important facilities has brought economic benefits on a major scale to city, state and nation; and they are likely to remain as long-term elements of metropolitan infrastructure. Given the technical, geographical, and political realities surrounding their development, their replacement, closure or relocation within the foreseeable future cannot seriously be contemplated.

    The challenge for government therefore becomes one of ensuring that the ongoing use of these vital assets into the future is accompanied by appropriate environmental management and funding arrangements which take into account the fact that, for Botany Bay, their arrival brought massive and irreversible changes to shoreline, bay geometry and hydrodynamics, habitat and other environmental characteristics. Presumably, major port expansion works as are currently being contemplated by the Ports Corporation would bring further changes of a similar kind.

    Such being the case, two issues of importance for the Botany Bay Program can be simply identified.

    For the BBP, these two issues generate a single question. How can future Bay management ensure the continuing viability and operational success of these two major public assets whilst at the same time facilitating the steady improvement of the overall catchment environment? As strongly argued elsewhere in this document, this latter objective will place considerable demands on the scientific community, working hand in hand with local councils and the non-government community (amongst others).

    Here it is relevant to recall that both Sydney Ports and Sydney Airport have publicly declared their goal of conducting their operations in an environmentally responsible way.

    "Sydney Airports has a commitment to developing and implementing world class practices in environmental management. Specifically, this includes a commitment to reducing environmental impacts, public reporting, and working with the community and other partners to ensure that the people of Sydney are the beneficiaries of a world class airport that operates in harmony with the social built and natural environment."
    Sydney Airport: Environment Strategy, 1999, p.ES-I

    "Sydney Ports Corporation has sought to work with the community to develop relationships that build a greater understanding of…(its) role in monitoring safety around the ports, and in protecting the marine environment."
    Sydney Ports Corporation, 1999 Annual Report

    Perhaps these two bodies could do more to assist in funding the necessary scientific research within the catchment – seen as a single ecosystem whose health will bring benefits to the entire community and to all users whether downstream in the Bay or upstream at the head of the tributaries.

    Table 5 (below) helps to illuminate the challenges facing government when the future of a complex ecosystem is at stake. In the past, the Bay's many roles as habitat, sea and airport, playground, fishing ground, and setting for residential, commercial and industrial development have invited the traditional sectoral responses with mixed results. Conversely, sectoral interest groups within the Bay community have legitimate demands for facilities such as boat ramps, boat repair services, boat refuelling and moorings - services whose provision is often the concern of a governmental agency or corporation. Debate over the provision of facilities to satisfy such demands is often heated due to the inherent environmental conflicts involved.

    Overall, it can reasonably be claimed that today's community is demanding holistic management solutions from government in the face of inefficiencies, gaps and inadequacies evident in the older approaches. The recently publicised NGO proposal for a Bay Light Express multi-modal public transport system for Bay-side suburbs (Sydney Morning Herald 21/10/00) is an example of an imaginative community –based initiative which demands a whole of government response but which under present arrangements has 'no place to go'.

    Failure to resolve conflict over environmental issues (other than by way of litigation) is another area of concern, highlighting yet again the need for objective scientific input to development control processes and decision-making. Measurement of cumulative impacts of Bay-side developments (eg another container terminal), and the scientific context for a ban on commercial fin fishing, are two of many Bay management issues which demand a more rigorous and interdisciplinary scientific approach that has been the case in the past.

    Current proposals for various sites and properties on the Kurnell Peninsula raise further environmental management issues whose satisfactory resolution is unlikely under present State and local planning and development control arrangements. Individual landowners develop their own plans in isolation. Environmental impact assessment tends to be cursory and site specific, ignoring wider ecological considerations. Cumulative impacts are rarely addressed. Day-to-day development control takes place in a vacuum of reliable scientific knowledge about the Peninsula.

    From Taren Point and Cronulla to Kurnell, the Peninsula tends to be seen as a collection of unrelated pieces of real estate rather than as a complex and fragile ecosystem whose environmental integrity is in the balance because of the absence of a holistic policy framework. Such a framework would necessarily embrace the precautionary principle, commensurate with official commitments to ESD. It may well be that the new planning principles being promoted in PlanFirst will offer a mechanism for dealing effectively with the situation at Kurnell and in other environmentally complex locations in the catchment.
     

    Table 5: Botany Bay – Current governmental arrangements

    Agency

    Principal Roles and Responsibilities Applicable to the Botany Bay Area

    NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service

    • Responsible for the care, control and management of Botany Bay National Park; Towra Point Nature Reserve; Georges River National Park; protection and management of places and objects of Aboriginal and European cultural significance within the Park and Reserve; protection of scheduled native animals and plants including threatened species and ecological communities; development of the Botany Bay Shorebird Action Plan; preparation of biodiversity study as part of Georges River REP

    Department of Land & Water Conservation

    • Primary land and water resource manager in NSW; actions pursuant to the Water Management Act 2000; catchment management in Georges and Cooks Rivers; primary role in management of BB foreshores; management of the Bushcare program; Floodplain Management Program implementation; protection, monitoring and management of Botany Basin groundwater resource; licensing of groundwater bores;
    • Management of Crown land above high water mark in partnership with local councils; assisting Kogarah and Bankstown Councils in preparation and implementation of coastal and estuarine management plans; addressing problem of acid sulfate soils; lead agency responsible for servicing, guiding and monitoring the work of Southern Sydney Catchment Management Board; partner in remediation works on Alexandra Canal Project; advice and technical support on repair and maintenance of Kurnell dune system; member of Towra Beach and Spit Island Steering Committee

    Department of Urban Affairs and Planning

    • Core functions include directing the preparation of environmental plans including Regional Environmental Plans for Georges R. and Kurnell; preparation. of State Environmental Planning Policies; within BB, 8 SEPPs and 3 REPs are in force; partner in preparation of Alexandra Canal Masterplan; Botany/Randwick Industrial Area Land Use Safety study; Cooks Cove Masterplan; "Plan First" program (state wide review of environmental planning procedures )

    NSW Fisheries

    • In Bay waters below mean high water mark, responsible for the management of fish stock, habitats and species biodiversity; management of the Towra Point Aquatic Reserve and regulation of fishing within the Refuge Zone of the reserve ; licensing of commercial fishing in Botany Bay & tributaries where permissible; recreational fishing monitoring / regulating; licensing of aquaculture; provision of management, scientific, advisory and compliance services to the fishing industry; currently (May 2001) conducting public consultations regarding possible closure of Botany Bay to commercial fishers whilst ensuring more secure fishing rights in other areas where commercial fishers will enjoy priority access

    NSW Environment Protection Authority

    • Environmental regulator; licensing – upgrade of Bay sewage treatment systems operated by Orica, Caltex Kurnell, Sydney Water Corp; licensing of particular Bayside facilities of Elgas, Sydney Ports Corpn; issuing, enforcement of environmental protection notices; directions to local councils to prepare stormwater management plans as part of state Waterways Package 1997; Stormwater Trust grants to LGAs; coordination of Beachwatch & Harbourwatch groups to conduct water quality monitoring at 15 sites in BB/GR; wastewater discharge licensing; aquaculture licenses in conjunction with NSW Fisheries; regulating activities that may have a significant regional or state-wide impact under the POEO Act; promoting environmental education and monitoring including preparation of State of the Environment Reports

    Sydney Water Corporation

    • Responsible for drinking water supply, wastewater services, sewage treatment and some stormwater services within the Sydney metro region; owner of Alexandra Canal and partner in its rehabilitation; owner of majority of Botany wetlands from Gardeners Road to Botany Road – responsible for preparation and implementation of wetlands plan of management; responsible for ensuring that management of sewage and trade waste does not adversely affect water quality and other ecological parameterises in Botany Bay – such being the focus of the SWC strategy for sustainable wastewater management (including stormwater management within the trunk drainage system)

    Department of Public Works and Services

    • Public works projects in and around the Bay

    Southern Sydney Catchment Management Board

    • Responsible to the Minister for the management of Eastern Beaches, Georges River (including Woronora River) and Cooks River Catchments by way of a Catchment Management Plan comprising objectives, actions, targets

    SSROC COUNCILS comprising Bankstown, Botany Bay, Canterbury, Hurstville, Kogarah, Marrickville, Randwick, Rockdale, South Sydney, Sutherland Shire, Waverley, Woollahra,

    • Preparation and implementation of Local Environment Plans; annual State of Environment Reports; heritage conservation; Development Control Plans and development application assessment; preparation and implementation of stormwater management plans for catchments; regulation of local environmental impacts under POEO Act; Sydney Coastal Council's Regional Coastal Management Strategy where relevant

    Sydney Airports Corporation

    • Management of Sydney Airports Corporation land
    • Planning, development & environmental management within the airport
    • Implementation of an Environmental Management Strategy for the airport area
    • Conservation of migratory birds habitat contained in the airport Engine Ponds
    • Part owner of Botany Wetlands

    NSW Heritage Office

    • Responsibility for conservation of heritage sites in conjunction with local government
    • Responsible for protection of shipwrecks in Botany Bay over 75 years old

    Healthy Rivers Commission

    • Independent body advising government on river health goals and strategies to achieve them; author of Draft Report of the Independent Inquiry into the Georges River / Botany Bay System (Oct.2000)

    NSW Waterways Authority

    • Responsible for management of navigable waters; enforcement of marine safety and installing navigation aids; regulation of boating practices on Botany Bay; leasing of berths, jetties and wharves in Botany Bay; exercises Ministerial landowner delegation for the beds of Botany Bay; approval body for works on Bay seabed below MHWM; owner and manager of Northern Foreshores Beach; commercial shipping access (with Sydney Ports); partner in beach restoration works at Towra Spit, Lady Robinsons beach; foreshore monitoring; maintenance of groynes, breakwaters

    Australian Heritage Commission

    • Manage Register of the National Estate
    • Registered sites include Kurnell Peninsula & Towra Point Area, Towra Point Aquatic Reserve, Captain Cook's Landing Place historical site, Botany Wetlands

    Sydney Ports Corporation

    • Management of area and facilities within the designated boundaries of Port Botany incl. Improvements to container handling facilities; establishment of Enfield inter-modal facility; stabilisation works at Towra Spit; prevention of pollution incidents in Botany bay resulting from vessel activity or accidents; provision of environmental protection in accident situations; assistance with restoration proposal, Lady Robinsons Beach; resourcing of BB Coastal Management Committee

    Roads and Traffic Authority

    • Freeway and main road design, construction, maintenance; owner of a small corridor of the Botany Wetlands, located adjacent to Southern Cross Drive

    Environment Australia

    • Responsible for matters of national env. Significance incl. Ramsar wetlands, threatened species, ecological communities, migratory species.

    NSW Premier's Department

    • Undertakes management of special projects requiring coordination of government organisations and resources
    • Aims to ensure a whole of government response to strategic and operational issues
    • Operates a 'Regional Coordination Program' to ensure a coordinated response by State government to key issues affecting communities.
    • Botany Bay falls into the 'Coastal Sydney' region. Premiers department lead and support projects that require cross-agency coordination in the Sydney Coastal region.

    South Sydney Development Corporation

    • Statutory body,(1996) – lead role in 'revitalising' South Sydney; projects include Alexandra Canal and Green Square Town Centre


    CHAPTER 4 WHY THE BOTANY BAY PROGRAM?

    The past 3 decades or so have seen significant changes to the Bay's environment arising from natural processes or human intervention. Some changes have been environmentally detrimental, others have been relatively benign or even beneficial in terms of community aspirations and values.

    Scientific evidence pointing to changes in the Bay's environment and possible degradation of its ecological values is scattered and reliable base-line data is in short supply. However, in spite of an imperfect information base, a consensus view has emerged to the effect that the Bay's environmental health has deteriorated to the point at which new management arrangements are urgently warranted (HRC, 2000). The HRC considered available scientific evidence, the views of communities and individuals within the catchment, and the attitudes of government agencies. Its first recommendation for the Bay was clear: Botany Bay requires a new integrated management framework. Subject to possible revisions to the Commission's report, it could reasonably be taken that the HRC has established a prima facie case for a new Bay management regime consistent with the objectives of the BBP.

    4.1 Rationale for a New Bay Management System

    4.1.1 Past efforts at managing the Bay have been piecemeal, unsuccessfully addressing Bay ecosystems

    Early attempts at formulating plans for metropolitan Sydney paid little or no regard to science or to what are now commonly referred to as 'environmental' issues. The first of those plans was the growth-oriented Cumberland County Plan (1948-52), a statutory plan which provided an overly legalistic framework for development control by the then County Council's constituent local authorities. The natural environment – along with Botany Bay as a 'sub-region' - received virtually no attention.

    The County Plan had several successors, produced by the relevant State government agency of the day. The 1964 Sydney Region Outline Plan, the 1988 strategy Sydney into its Third Century, and the 1995 Cities for the 21st Century all discarded the earlier statutory basis in favour of a strategic approach setting broad parameters for metropolitan expansion at a time when such growth was still regarded as essentially a beneficial process. Environmental problems were beginning to be recognised but the efficient management of urban growth was still seen as being the primary task for planning.

    As was the case with the County Plan, these later plans did not explicitly acknowledge Botany Bay's existence as a discrete catchment or environmental system deserving of a dedicated planning and management framework. Whilst Bankstown, Hurstville and Sutherland variously received recognition as subregional centres, wider issues relating to environmental management were largely ignored.

    If Botany Bay failed to achieve proper recognition in these metropolitan planning exercises, the record suggests that it fared no better when subjected to the official regional environmental planning process. In 1977, a start was made on a broad planning strategy for the Bay and its environs and this work led to the public exhibition of a draft Sydney REP (Botany Bay) in 1982. Four years later, after revision, this draft instrument was again exhibited but failed to gain public support. The Plan was subsequently abandoned by the then Minister in 1988 in the face of strong community opposition.

    That action was followed by the non-statutory Botany Bay Regional Policy Guidelines in 1992 – a document which was described by SSROC as "an ineffective planning tool". Today, the Guidelines are rarely if ever cited.

    In 1989 the Kurnell Peninsula was covered by Sydney Regional Environmental Plan No 17, gazetted in January 1991 and repealing the earlier SREP No. 3 for the same area. This REP was prepared partly in response to concerns over oil refining and associated industrial development on the Bay. It assigned primary responsibility for plan implementation to Sutherland Shire Council, with the Minister retaining consent powers in the Oil Refining and Special Industrial zones.

    In the late 1990s the Georges River Catchment was covered by Greater Metropolitan Regional Environmental Plan No 2. Amendment No 1 to this REP has recently been on exhibition, with gazettal scheduled this year (2001).

    None of these sporadic yet well intended planning initiatives over some 35 years have grappled with Bay management in a holistic way. This is not necessarily an indictment of those initiatives: reasons may include (for example) poor terms of reference, leading inevitably to poor results. Additionally, the record suggests that within official planning circles there has never been any enthusiasm for the concept of a single management entity, responsible for ensuring that the various statutory and other objectives of individual agencies working within the Bay were in fact achieved and guidelines followed.

    4.1.2 Community expectations are higher than ever before; there is a popular mandate for reform

    The Draft Report on the Georges River and Botany Bay System (HRC, 2000) is unequivocal in this issue. As the most recent official source of evidence as to the community's views on the future of the Bay, its conclusions are highly relevant.

    "The vast majority of submissions (to the Inquiry) …identify the need for more integrated and coordinated management across the catchment…. Government and community programs and actions are being conducted in a fragmented fashion, without clear goals and objectives… a new management approach is required." HRC, 2000.

    4.1.3 Locally and globally, ESD principles are now expected to underpin development and environmental management decisions; and are embodied in the Charter for local government in New South Wales

    Since Brundtland, 1987, (Our Common Future; Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development) governments worldwide have moved towards the adoption of development policies embracing ESD principles.

    In 1992 a National Strategy for ESD was developed and agreed to by the three tiers of government in Australia. Its central focus was on the search for ways to change contemporary decision-making about the use of natural resources in order to reduce or eliminate negative environmental impacts associated with economic activity. ESD strategies are now in place at State level; and in official publications on environmental topics, references to ESD criteria are frequent. A recent example of direct relevance to Botany Bay is the reference to ESD in the explanatory notes on the Aims of the Draft Greater Metropolitan Regional Environmental Plan No 2 –Georges River Catchment (Amendment No 1).

    At the local government level, all Councils in the State are obligated through the Local Government Act and by Charter to take ESD principles into account in their policy and decision-making. ESD is specifically referred to in the objectives of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (as amended) – an Act which binds all Councils in the preparation of local environmental plans, amongst other things.

    It can be concluded that a responsible environmental strategy for Botany Bay must, by definition, embrace ESD principles.

    4.1.4 Despite some successes the Bay's natural environment continues to deteriorate

    Evidence collected by SSROC, HRC and others indicates that:

    4.1.5 Ecosystems cannot be managed by traditional sectoral arrangements

    In 1999 the Total Environment Centre released its Greenprint for Sydney – an environmental strategy for the 21st century. This document (part government funded) stands as a landmark contribution by a leading peak environmental organisation to the debate on the future of the metropolitan region. Based on the principles of ecologically sustainable development (ESD) and on a strong conservation ethic, it establishes for the first time an alternative vision to those offered in earlier official planning strategies.

    The TEC "greenprint" advocates a major change to the way governments have traditionally managed complex ecosystems. The same message has been forcefully presented in the recent HRC Report on the Georges River – Botany Bay system; and it relates in a general way to the work of the recently - established Southern Sydney Catchment Management Board. The evidence from local and overseas sources is clear: ecosystem management based on a rigid sectoral division of responsibilities and duties will not work. Additionally, good resource management will include a soundly constructed and transparent environmental reporting process.

    4.1.6 The current system fails to give adequate recognition to and encouragement for the non-government conservation sector

    Within the informal or non-government sector, valuable skills and resources are available to government provided that proper avenues for their involvement are provided. Unfortunately, participatory exercises involving a successful blending of official and community effort are far from common, despite the fact that participation is now widely accepted as a necessary part of the planning process (see Ideas for Community Consultation, DUAP, 2001). Indeed, the present Botany Bay Program emerged from grass-roots concerns about a deteriorating Bay environment.

    In line with ESD principles and with a growing global commitment to better community involvement processes, a new Bay management regime will acknowledge the significant contribution which the NGO sector has already made – and will continue to make - to improved Bay management in the future. The recent (May 2001) moves towards the establishment of a coalition of conservation NGOs in the Botany Bay region are significant in this regard.

    4.1.7 The current system fails to recognise the importance of good science as a vital management resource; and fails to offer a mechanism for scientific research to influence decision-making

    Past scientific effort has been undertaken for commercial or academic reasons largely unrelated to Bay management processes. Scientists and managers have tended to work independently – often with a focus on a particular place or issue. Whilst such work will always be important, balance is necessary: agency and development priorities should also involve a concern to improve our knowledge of Bay systems and of the ecosystem as a whole.

    If sustained progress is to be made in improving the environmental quality of the Bay, science must be brought into the decision-making process at an early stage. Research programs need to be aligned to policy objectives so that reliable data becomes available to decision-makers in a timely fashion.

    If past scientific effort has been less than successful in serving the needs of management, so too could it be claimed that institutional science has been generally reluctant to embrace the concept of 'citizen science'. This concept sees all sectors of society – the general public, government and industry – participating in the actual development and conduct of public-interest research.

    Citizen science offers a bridge between science and the community and between research, policy formulation, planning and decision-making. Top-down approaches to research would be balanced by collaborative practices at the grass-roots level, and the adoption of participatory strategies designed to suit particular management needs and community concerns.

    4.1.8 Within State Government, specific ministerial responsibility for Bay environmental quality is non-existent

    Botany Bay and its catchment provide the setting for two of the nation's most important airports as well as our major maritime container and bulk oil port. Within this area, there has been massive private and public investment in industry, in infrastructure, and in community support services. Approximately 30% of the population of metropolitan Sydney live in the catchment. Modern Australia saw its origins in the Bay with the landing of Captain Cook in 1770. To this day, the Aboriginal community retains strong traditional links with the Bay's land and water.

    Despite these significant if not unique characteristics, the Bay has no voice in State Cabinet. Various Ministers (including the Minister responsible for implementing catchment management legislation) might occasionally claim to speak for the Bay: but no Minister carries specific responsibility for the Bay's future environmental well being. The effectiveness of a new bay management regime may well depend in large part on the inclusion of responsibility for the Bay in a particular Ministerial portfolio in line with current 'place management ' theory and the notion of a "whole of government" approach to resource management.

    4.1.9 The Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils has taken a lead in proposing a regional or catchment basis for future Bay management

    SSROC provides a unified focus for local government activity with the 12 constituent Council areas located around the Bay and within the lower catchments of the Cooks and Georges Rivers. SSROC's successful 1999 application for federal funding under the Coast and Clean Seas Program was prepared in recognition of earlier community concerns about the health of the bay, and provides ample evidence of the lead role which SSROC continues to play on this issue. Its initiative warrants a positive response from State government to maintain the momentum and ensure that the investment of the initial federal grant generates a worthwhile long-term dividend.

    In this context, the recent draft HRC report recommending that the State Government establish a 'new integrated management framework ' for the Bay is especially significant.

    4.1.10 Inadequate official concern for indigenous culture

    Throughout the Bay catchment there are many special places, sites and relics of great cultural significance for all Australians – and especially for their Aboriginal custodians. Efforts at surveying, mapping, recording and conserving these cultural assets have hitherto been limited and poorly resourced. Likewise, there has been relative neglect of opportunities to record indigenous oral history. Barriers to Aboriginal participation in decision-making are still evident; and strategies for achieving meaningful training and employment in government and the private sector remain inadequate.

    A responsible Bay management regime would include arrangements for redressing these areas of neglect and for improving the flow of resources to research, explore and develop opportunities for Aboriginal eco-tourism, environmental and cultural education, and other ventures.

    4.1.11 Precedents elsewhere show that it can be done

    In other urban bay locations in Australia and overseas, successful environmental improvement programs have been initiated through partnerships between government, the community and NGO sectors, science and other interest groups. The Moreton Bay Study and Strategy together stand as an exemplary model and a powerful demonstration of a successful catchment-wide improvement program. There would appear to be no reason why a program for Botany Bay cannot provide another example of success. "If Queensland can do it, why can't we?".

    4.2 Conclusion

    The record reveals that a historic opportunity for establishing a holistic Bay management regime is now available. Partnerships between the three levels of government, and between government, science and NGOs, could conceivably break the inertia which has hitherto frustrated previous efforts. The direct involvement of the scientific and non-government sectors will be vital to success, as will the acceptance by State government of the responsibility for assigning the Bay to a Cabinet portfolio.

    It may be argued that the new Southern Sydney Catchment Management Board is an organisation which is well placed to provide some of the leadership and resources which would necessarily be required if Bay management is to be put on a sound footing in the future. However, the Board (like its counterparts in other catchments) will be hard pressed to adequately complete its statutory tasks within the time available.

    Whilst the spirit of the new catchment board arrangements is admirable, future implementation of actions arising out of the catchment management strategy (yet to be developed and adopted) is problematical. Perhaps the Botany Bay Program can help the Board to find a fruitful resolution to this situation, consistent with the findings of the draft HRC report.


    Chapter 5 SCIENCE AND THE BAY

    5.1 Science, Urban Planning, and Environmental Policy

    Early attempts at formulating plans for metropolitan Sydney paid little or no regard to science or to what are now commonly referred to as 'environmental' issues.

    As explained in Chapter 4, the first of those plans was the growth-oriented Cumberland County Plan (1948-52) – a statutory plan in which the natural environment received virtually no attention. Subsequent official plans in 1968, 1988 and 1995 adopted a more strategic approach. Environmental problems were beginning to be recognised but these later plans still saw them as being secondary to the primary task of providing a vehicle for the efficient management of urban growth.

    To date, the metropolitan region still lacks an officially endorsed strategy for its environmental future which is firmly anchored in a robust scientific framework. Such a framework might be envisaged as having a base in research designed to measure environmental indicators and establish acceptable threshold levels for managing growth and change.

    Day-to-day development control at the local level would be implemented in the first instance by testing certain categories of proposals against those thresholds. Other tests (eg those relating to urban design or heritage) would follow the initial environmental assessment.

    Inherent in the philosophy behind the Botany Bay Program is the view that a Bay-area planning framework which is explicitly based on an understanding of key scientific phenomena must be found if real progress is to be achieved. An understanding of the way those phenomena interact to cause positive or negative impacts on the bay environment is an obvious corollary. The 1999 Georges River and Botany Bay Symposium and the Botany Bay Science Forum of December 2000 explored some of these phenomena and revealed an absolute need for science to underpin future Bay management.

    Thus the option of a new kind of plan emerges – one based more on a factual understanding of natural processes and habitats, and involving regular monitoring of results over time. This approach is consistent with current local and overseas catchment management principles and with the suggested catchment-based framework for metropolitan planning referred to in an earlier chapter.

    It seems likely that an ESD approach will stand to be enhanced if it has an authoritative science base, linked where appropriate to 'visions' and a value set sourced from the relevant community (as has already been partially the case with stormwater management plans in the Bay catchment).

    Recent studies in the UK suggest that planners and managers have underestimated the complexity of land-ocean interactions, the dynamic nature of coastal systems, and the extent to which human activity may influence natural processes. Of significance here, in the Botany Bay context, is the possibility of a rise in sea levels and in tidal heights as a result of global warming. Debate on this phenomenon will continue, and scientific opinion will continue to vary. There is nevertheless a strong case for the application of the precautionary principle in regard to construction and infrastructure projects on the Bay pending further research.

    Burbridge and colleagues at the University of Newcastle-on-Tyne (Department of Marine Sciences and Coastal Management) have reported on this and other problems affecting the transfer of scientific knowledge into planning and management systems.

    Burbridge, P. et al, 1998; The Marine Component of the Coastal Zone in Land and Water – Integrated planning for a sustainable future; International Society of City and Regional Planners, 34th Annual Congress: The Hague.

    5.2 Extent of Current Knowledge

    Many scientific studies have been undertaken in different sections of Botany Bay over the years. Environmental Impact Statements associated with particular development projects have also added to our knowledge of Bay phenomena. However, holistic investigations of 'cause and effect' mechanisms in the Bay overall (including the two rivers) have yet to be undertaken, the result being that our knowledge of the functioning of the Bay as an ecosystem is limited and fragmented.

    Preparation of an up-to-date inventory of authoritative scientific effort associated with the Bay stands as a top priority for Bay management. It would capitalise on earlier scientific meetings and colloquia (eg the Georges River Symposium, 1999 and its predecessors), and would include references to the following work and knowledge gaps

    5.2.1 Hydrodynamics and geomorphology

    5.2.2 Seagrasses

    5.2.3 Groundwater

    5.2.4 Indicators; objectives for environmental management; integrated science

    5.2.5 Data collection; management; quality of knowledge

    5.2.6 Community involvement

    5.3 The Extent of Degradation of the Bay's Environment

    5.3.1 Generally

    Superficially the waters of Botany Bay appear to be in good health. However, threats are evident in the catchment and in Bay perimeter locations. The once buoyant oyster farming industry has all but collapsed in the Georges River, with Quibray Bay the only area not affected by Qx disease. Past contamination remains a serious threat to the Botany aquifer and groundwater resources. Foreshore and underwater storages of fuel, hazardous substances and hazardous wastes pose continuing potential risks to Bay habitats and water quality. Upstream in the two tributary rivers, water quality remains vulnerable to the adverse impacts of urban runoff, sewage overflow, and sedimentation.

    5.3.2 Water quality

    5.3.3 Habitat change

    5.4 Research priorities

    Table 6 offers a provisional list of research themes which warrant early attention in a new Bay management context.
     
    Table 6: Research needs and priorities – a provisional listing

    ISSUE

    RESEARCH NEEDS / PRIORITIES

    Sediment transport

    • Sand transport and budget studies to identify connections between sources and sinks – including on-going monitoring of remediation works
    • Impact of changes to substrate on food chains and biota
    • Base-line studies on the composition and behaviour of the Botany Bay seabed

    Management and process studies

    • Audit of theoretical structures relevant to management models
    • Assessment of the goals of managers

    Port expansion

    • Investigation of the 'bigger picture' - Australian trade position – national port expansion policy; catering for the next generation of container vessels
    • Impacts of port expansion on the Botany Bay system as a whole
    • Research into how port and runway facilities can be more environmentally 'friendly' – change to engineering techniques

    Habitat change

    • Investigation of habitat change in the area over the last 50 years
    • Inventory of habitats and biodiversity in the Bay
    • Investigation of the extent of habitat fragmentation

    Biological systems

    • Further research to increase knowledge of Bay biological systems and sub-systems

    Groundwater

    • Extent, impacts and consequences of contamination

    Environmental education / community communication

    • Preparation of community education kits, aids
    • Communication of research activities and findings to the community (citizen science) – helping the community to a greater understanding of what scientists can deliver
    • Creation of mechanisms for linking science and the community
    • Research into preferences for the Bay (to replace traditional 'community consultation')

    General science and related issues

    • Establish protocols for determining levels of relevance of research work to management needs
    • Access to research funds is difficult in a climate where proposals involving research and monitoring activity are not readily approved by government
    • Need to highlight the benefit of spending money on research now rather than later when the problem becomes worse and more money is required
    • The costs of environmental degradation should be linked to the benefits of targeted research funding
    • Science needs to know specific objectives of Bay management in order to undertake relevant scientific studies
    • Audit of all Bay-related scientific studies
    • An understanding of ecological concepts should underpin all engineering and development effort in the Bay – perhaps driven by the concept of "benign by design".
    • Trends reporting
    • Undertake modelling of pollutant impacts (eg impact of nutrient discharges on habitats over time).
    • Undertake an independent audit of hydrodynamic model currently in use by SPC; expansion of the model to cover biological responses.

    5.5 Science and the Bay System: An Overview of Management Issues

    Evidence indicates that to date, serious research on Bay phenomena has been patchy and fragmented. Highly focussed studies of particular phenomena have dominated – with relative neglect of processes relating to the needs of Bay-wide management objectives (which do not exist). A fresh program is necessary, commencing with an inventory of available knowledge which is still current and continuing with tasks outlined in Table 6. That program would connect with and be an integral part of a process designed to produce an agreed set of management objectives for the Bay. (Here there may be a potential role for the SSCMB, the HRC model, or PlanFirst).

    Within State Government – a major proponent of scientific activity – work has tended to be place or issue focussed and governed more by agency and development priorities than by a concern to improve our knowledge of Bay systems and of the ecosystem as a whole.

    Valuable work by agency scientists cannot easily be accessed; no comprehensive catalogue of their work exists. Academic research has likewise been driven by forces generally unrelated to community needs or to community aspirations for the future of the Bay, seen as a valuable public resource.

    For the Botany Bay Program, the following significant issues emerged from the December 2000 Science Forum as agenda items in any new management regime.

    5.6 Agents for Research

    As with Bay government, scientific research on Bay phenomena has generally taken place in a relative vacuum of leadership and focus. No single agency or research centre has emerged as an appropriate focal point for a coordinated approach to data gathering, research, promulgation of findings, community education, and related activities.

    A small step along the way to a more productive future was the Botany Bay Program Science Forum of December 2000. A parallel initiative has been the work of the Sydney Harbour Manager in developing a database of research results, work in progress, proposals, and contact details of research workers examining Sydney Harbour phenomena across a wide field of disciplines.

    As discussed elsewhere, a proposal for the establishment of a Botany Bay research unit at the University of New South Wales is currently being developed. In assessing this proposal, it will be of value to examine the international trend towards the establishment of Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs) as vehicles for bringing together research partners in government, universities, research institutions, and citizen groups. In Sydney, with its two great waterways, the application of the CRC model may well be a fruitful means of optimising the work and resources of numerous disparate research agencies and individuals.

    A Botany Bay Studies Unit at UNSW would be a key partner in the partnership arrangements foreshadowed at the May 2001 meeting of the Botany Bay Program, when representatives of the scientific community, the non-government sector, the Aboriginal community and local government met and agreed on principles for future collaboration.


    Chapter 6 THE BAY COMMUNITY

    6.1 Generally - Community or Communities?

    Within the Bay catchment there are well over 100 localities with their own names, environmental characteristics, and community attitudes and traditions. Some, like Oatley and Ramsgate, have close links with the water. Others, like Narwee and Rockdale centre, are more remote from the Bay and the rivers and enjoy different geographical associations. The common element throughout the area is the fact that rainwater falling in each and every one of these localities will theoretically finish up in Botany Bay.

    To speak of a 'catchment community' is to speak of something which does not exist in the real world. Rather is there a galaxy of special (often conflicting) interest groups and local associations – most of which are place or activity focussed. There is no single umbrella group – although within local government, SSROC and the upstream group of WSROC can both claim to have undertaken that role with some success.

    Many groups have taken a special interest in environmental matters and there is a loose if somewhat informal network linking these groups and offering a conduit through which public policy can be addressed. Other networks exist in the fields of industry, transport, tourism, sport, religion, community recreation, community service, ethnic affairs, education, business, women's affairs, and youth. And despite the disruptions and cultural traumas of the last 200 years or so the indigenous Bay people have managed to retain important elements of communal spirit and pride in their ancestral associations with the place – especially at Kurnell, La Perouse and a number of other locations within the catchment.

    The 'community' also includes local business interests, corporations and entrepreneurs whose commercial interests and resources are vital components of the economic base of the catchment. The next phase of the Program will include further consultations with this sector to identify common ground including partnership opportunities. If evidence from other places is any guide, a healthy environment is good for business. Conversely, business involvement in the search for ways of improving the catchment environment will strengthen the entire process. Ultimately, benefits will flow to all stakeholders.

    6.2 Local Government

    As the driving force behind the Botany Bay Program, local government has been the principal agent pushing for a new management regime for the Bay system. This push now finds support in the draft findings of the HRC.

    With its generous legislative mandate for action in the fields of planning and environmental management, local government (working in a more holistic legislative and management framework) can take initiatives of the kind which are not easily available to more powerful State agencies.

    Within the Bay environs, the 12 council areas which have combined to form the SSROC region vary considerably in size, geographical characteristics, history, climate, and socioeconomic profile. Yet they all have links to the Bay catchment. They all contribute money, expertise and leadership to the peak body. They all enjoy the benefits associated with membership of the corporate SSROC structure.

    Table 2 (Chapter 2) provides indicators of the current size and resource base of the 12 SSROC member councils. In areas upstream of SSROC member councils, other local government authorities are active in catchment management work to a greater or lesser extent. In total, some 24 councils out of a metropolitan total of about 43 have all or part of their territory in the Bay catchment. A holistic catchment management regime will ideally involve all these councils and their constituent communities, perhaps through a partnership of all LGAs based on a common recognition of the geographical integrity of the entire system.

    6.3 Current Community Aspirations for the Bay

    According to the HRC, 2000, p.4, there is a "high degree of community unease …about the number of entities with management responsibilities relating to Botany Bay, the complexity of their inter-relationships, and the apparent lack of real accountability for results in terms of the overall health of the Bay".

    The Commission sought the views of community groups and individuals throughout the entire catchment – from Kurnell and Towra Point to upstream locations such as Appin, Wedderburn and the lower Georges River foreshores. In its draft report of October 2000, the Commission identified 8 issues which emerged as being of primary community concern:

    All these issues emerged again late in 2000 during the first round of Botany Bay Program meetings with representatives of local environmental and conservation groups. Delegates to those meetings brought evidence of environmental mishaps and poor management at dozens of sites and locations within the catchment. Clearly, the "watchdog" role played by these grass-roots organisations must be recognised as a vital resource in any future Bay management arrangements.

    The Aboriginal community has a traditional custodial role in the Bay region. Protection of remaining sites and places is now seen as both a civic and governmental responsibility, and the role of the traditional owners must be recognised in this regard. New Bay management arrangements must include opportunities for this work to continue, and for resources to be made available to assist with such projects as cultural mapping, oral history, and community education.

    Keeping an eye on local environmental resources is undoubtedly a vitally important community activity. In many cases, it is balanced by the creative efforts of local conservation and indigenous groups which not only identify a problem but involve themselves directly in its solution. Across the catchment there are hundreds of examples of this kind of 'direct action' whereby local people have pooled their resources, energies and expertise to undertake valuable on-the-ground environmental improvement projects. Such enterprise demands formal recognition and support, consistent with current participatory practice and the general philosophy of ESD.

    Information in Table 7 is indicative of the substantial efforts and achievements of some of these local organisations across the Bay area. The wide variety and distribution of projects and concerns reveal not only the richness of the total community resource involved, but also serve to remind us that local groups have a valuable knowledge fund arising from their direct involvement in 'on-the-ground' surveys, plans and projects. The potential for them to contribute this knowledge to serious science should be acknowledged in future Bay management arrangements.
     
    Table 7: Selected community-based initiatives in local environmental improvements in the Bay area and catchments

    Group

    Location

    Project

    Lilli Pilli Point Reserve Bushcare

    Lilli Pilli – Sutherland Shire Council

    Rehabilitation of Littoral rainforest at Lilli Pilli Point

    Kareena Park Bushcare

    Caringbah – Sutherland Shire Council

    Weed control and foreshore access – Kareena Park

    Oatley Flora & Fauna Conservation Society

    Mortdale –

    Shipwrights Bay Habitat Restoration & reclamation project

    Rutherford Reserve Bushcare

    Cronulla – Sutherland Shire Council

    Rehabilitation, protection & signage for Rutherford Reserve

    Marine & Coastal Community Network

    Sydney

    Dragon Search NSW

    Scarborough Park South Park Volunteers Committee

    Sans Souci – Rockdale Council

    Creek and dune forest protection in west Botany Bay

    Riverkeeper Program

    Georges River – Georges River Combined Councils Committee (Rockdale Council)

    Specialist volunteer groups – land survey, education, river-watch, environmental impact and administration.

    Streamwatch

    Kogarah Council, Cooks River Catchment Management Committee, Various schools

     

    Cooks River Valley Association

    Cooks Catchment Management Committee

    Monthly clean-ups of the River

    Friends of Wolli Creek Incorporated

     

    Preservation of the Wolli Creek Valley

    Wolli Creek Preservation Society

     

    Clean-up programs, tree planting

    Cooks River Coalition

    Auburn Greenspace, Bankstown Bushland Society

    Water quality, foreshores & overall catchment

    Clean Up Cooks River Campaign

    Cooks River and environs

    Proposal to establish a management body for Botany Bay

    Kogarah Bay Protection Group

    Blakehurst – Kogarah Council

    Community group

    Lime Kiln Bay Society

    Oatley – Kogarah

    Formed to restore the natural environment of bushlands in Oatley

    Rockdale and District Landscape heritage Committee

    Bexley

    Environmental restoration and preservation, bush regeneration

    Friends of Towra Point Nature Reserve

    Towra Point, Kurnell

    Dune care funded, environmental restoration

    Turpentine / Ironbark Forest Bushcare

    Peace Park, Ashbury – Canterbury City Council

     

    Cooks River Clay Plain Scrub Bushcare

    3rd Avenue, Campsie – Canterbury City Council

     

    Poulton Park & Moore Res.

    Kogarah Council

     

    Sutherland Shire Environment Centre

    Towra Point, Kurnell

    Weed eradication from wetland

    Centennial & Moore Park Trust

    Waverley Council

    Park improvement strategy

    Waverley Bushcare Organisation

    Calga Reserve, Bronte –Waverley Council

    Regeneration of remnant vegetation

    Bronte Gully Bushcare Organisation

    Bronte Gully – Waverley Council

    Bush regeneration

    Bondi Environment Group Organisation

    Waverley Council

    Bondi sewage treatment plant issues

    Bronte & Tamarama Advancement Society

    Waverley Council

    Preservation of Bronte & Tamarama Beach area

    Tamarama Park Bushcare

    Waverley Council

    Regeneration of Tamarama Park

    Calga Reserve / Waverley Cemetery Bushcare

    Waverley Council

    Revegetation of the coastal walkway

    Malabar Beach and Long Bay Foreshores Bushcare

    Randwick

    Regeneration of various areas around the Bay

    Coastal Walk Bushcare, Lurline Bay

    Randwick

    Regeneration of the Coogee coastal walk

    Fred Hollows Reserve Bushcare

    Randwick

    Regeneration of the Gully

    Gordons Bay Bushcare

    Randwick

    Regeneration of Gordon's Bay bushland

    Arthur Byrne Reserve Maroubra Bushcare

    Randwick

     

    Grant Reserve Coogee Bushcare

    Randwick

     

    Albi Place Bushcare

    Randwick

     

    Randwick and District Historical Society

    Randwick

    Promote interest in local history and heritage

    Waverley Historical Society

    Waverley

    Research and preservation of local history

    South West Enviro Centre

     

    General community-based improvement projects

    Sutherland Shire Environment Centre

     

    General community-based improvement projects

    Rockdale Wetlands Preservation Society

    Rockdale suburbs

    Preservation and management of the wetlands

    Source: Botany Bay Program Local Government records


    6.4 Partnerships for Better Bay Management

    Evidence provided by the Healthy Rivers Commission Draft Report, together with submissions and information made available directly to the Botany Bay Program, is indicative of an energetic Bay-side community with a strong commitment to environmental improvement works at a local level. Community resources are regularly being applied to the identification of environmental mishaps and the search for remediation measures. This work adds to the local knowledge base and can assist councils and other public agencies in their planning and monitoring activities.

    Outside the environmental field, community groups, Aboriginal leaders and local history librarians (amongst others) are active in assembling a rich resource of cultural information which has the potential to feed into environmental improvement programs across the catchment. An understanding of history can enrich our present-day policies and programs, and can often illuminate the decision-making process. Such community-based resources should find a place alongside the outputs of science in any future holistic Bay management regime.

    Here it is appropriate to refer to the draft Strategic Plan for the Hawkesbury-Nepean catchment, a good example of the kind of strategy which might 'turn the tide' in Botany Bay. An important adjunct to the Strategic Plan is the recently-released preliminary draft Lower Hawkesbury 2001-2004 'Community Empowerment Strategy' whose basis is the recognition that

    "a knowledgeable, skilled and actively involved community is essential if (government) is to deliver a healthy, diverse and productive river system and catchment". (HNCMT, 2001).

    In a landmark first move towards an ongoing partnership between the non-government community sector, science, the indigenous community and local government, the Botany Bay Program convened a meeting on 24 May at Sutherland. Representatives of these key groups discussed and agreed upon common interests relative to the management of the Bay and its catchment – including the Georges and Cooks Rivers - with a view to conserving, protecting and improving its environment.

    The meeting resulted in a unanimous and enthusiastic agreement that the creation of a strong partnership between the parties would bring mutual benefits and would add value to the Botany Bay Program's findings. The group expressed a collective commitment to move ahead towards the establishment of more formal arrangements for collaboration and interaction in line with the following principles.

    For the Botany Bay Program, the next logical step to progress the partnership will be to assist in the establishment of more formal arrangements, in step with the work associated with the proposed Botany Bay Studies Unit at the UNSW.


    Chapter 7 MANAGING THE BAY – LESSONS, PRECEDENTS, PROSPECTS

    7.1 Background – Current Situation

    Current arrangements for Bay management continue to reflect the traditional strengths of the key agencies of state government and the general absence of opportunities to apply a 'whole of government' response to multi-sectoral or inter-sectoral problems.

    Science tends to be undertaken in a client-driven context, often with an engineering focus. At the community level, input on area-wide environmental issues is necessarily reactive rather than pro-active. There is no single coalition of environmental groups able to speak with a common voice on environmental issues. (Note: Moves are under way at the time of writing to establish such a group.) In local government, individual councils struggle with a myriad of issues demanding cross-jurisdictional and intergovernmental responses which they themselves – acting unilaterally - are often unable to deliver.

    These realities are not new. Nor are they unique to Botany Bay. They are ubiquitous throughout our present governmental system: and counterparts are evident in other countries and cities despite what might appear to be significant constitutional or legislative differences.

    7.2 Success Stories: Some Common Elements

    Recent inquiries reveal a number of success stories from other places, offering evidence that solutions to complex environmental resource management problems can be found through partnerships and other collaborative arrangements. Local differences aside, these examples of successes elsewhere have a number of common elements – pointing towards a possible formula for success in Botany Bay and the catchment.

    Examples of other projects and programs of relevance are discussed briefly below.

    7.3 Analysis: the Australian Experience

    7.3.1 Moreton Bay (Queensland)

    Moreton Bay is located on the south-east Queensland coast at the mouth of the Brisbane River. In response to increasing environmental threats and pressures, the Moreton Bay Study was initiated in 1994 by six local councils in association with two state government agencies and the Natural Heritage Trust. The Study was the first integrated approach to the environmental issues facing the Bay and its catchments.

    The Study was designed to pre-empt and pro-actively manage potential adverse impacts of nutrients, sediments and toxicants in the Bay. Extensive scientific work was undertaken and published (Dennison and Abal, 1999: The Moreton Bay Study: A Scientific Basis for the Healthy Waterways Campaign) to provide a robust context for the strategies which followed. Recognition of the long-term challenge facing the Bay community is reflected in the Study's vision statement: "Moreton Bay and its waterways will, by 2020, be a healthy ecosystem supporting the livelihoods and lifestyles of residents and visitors".

    The Moreton Bay Study and the Management Strategy which followed (and which is still being implemented) involved positive interaction between science and management facilitated by scientific investigations and consequent strategy development. Community involvement has been crucial to the Study, with issues raised by the community providing a focus for scientific work. A Scientific Advisory Group was formed to ensure best practice science was undertaken. A generous allocation of funds to community education and information programs has been a notably fruitful aspect of the program.

    The success of the Strategy has been attributed to the following major strengths: - (Lloyd, Coast to Coast Conference 3/2000: SE Queensland Regional Water Quality Management Strategy)

    7.3.2 Port Phillip Bay (Victoria)

    Port Phillip Bay is a large marine embayment located on the southern coast of Victoria, surrounded by a large catchment area embracing most of metropolitan Melbourne. In 1991 the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) was approached to design and manage an environmental study of the Bay, seeking answers to questions regarding its sustainable use and management.

    The original Environmental Study was managed by CSIRO and supervised by a Management Committee which included representatives from the Victorian Environmental Protection Authority, Melbourne Water, and Melbourne Parks & Waterways. The research led to recognition by government that the entire catchment required management as a single entity to ensure sustainable use of the Bay. Whilst community input into the Study itself was minimal, recommendations embracing social imperatives and community involvement emerged.

    The 4-year $12 million Study was completed in June 1996, and was followed by a project whose terms of reference included the development of an integrated plan of management for the Bay area. With funding from the Commonwealth Coast and Clean Seas Program, this project is aiming to improve integration of State and Local Government coastal planning to protect the Bay's coastal and marine environment.

    7.3.3 Torrens – Patawalonga Rivers, Adelaide (South Australia)

    In Adelaide, the Torrens and Patawalonga Rivers are the focus of comprehensive plans prepared by catchment management boards. The planning system links the Boards of the two catchments and partner organisations such as local councils and non-government groups, working together on priority projects.

    The Torrens Catchment Water Management Board is responsible for integrated management of the water resources of the River Torrens - the largest of Adelaide's waterways. The catchment receives water from upstream creeks and tributaries as well as metropolitan stormwater run-off.

    The Board's vision is "to revitalise the Torrens Catchment, its rivers, lakes and streams to a state of clean water and healthy ecosystems, and to ensure a resource that is available for the sustainable use and enjoyment of all." In working to achieve this vision, the Board completed a comprehensive catchment management plan to improve water quality and land and waterway management procedures. Goals covering water quality, ecology, water quantity, and community awareness were developed to guide the plan.

    Whilst the Board has the key role in plan implementation, responsibility for achieving the adopted goals is shared with all levels of government and the community. Actions listed in the plan are achieved by way of partnerships with existing service providers and community groups. The community funds the Board through a catchment levy, collected by councils in the catchment on the Board's behalf.

    The Patawalonga Catchment is managed by a similar Board, funded under the Catchment Water Management Act 1995 by means of a catchment levy paid by local council ratepayers.

    The Patawalonga catchment management plan addresses water quality, environmental rehabilitation and the improvement of public amenity, stormwater and effluent utilisation, flooding, and funding requirements. The Board's work places emphasis on cross-agency integration and a multi-disciplinary approach to problem solving; and partnerships with local government and state government agencies are a vital part of the management arrangements.

    7.3.4 Lake Macquarie (New South Wales)

    Lake Macquarie is a large estuarine lake located on the central coast of New South Wales. The Premier of NSW established the Lake Macquarie Taskforce in April 1998 to address issues affecting the health of Lake Macquarie. The Taskforce's terms of reference included a review of the Lake Macquarie Estuary Management Plan and recommended actions for its implementation; and to recommend strategies to alleviate adverse impacts of current development and urbanisation on Lake Macquarie. The Taskforce has prepared a plan to achieve these objectives, which will be implemented by the Office of the Lake Macquarie Catchment Coordinator.

    The Taskforce consists of four expert sub-groups (biophysical, hydraulic, fisheries, funding & structures), Lake Macquarie Council and Wyong Shire Council working in partnership. A Lake Macquarie Project Management Committee has been formed, with representatives from State government, Local government, and community groups. There is strong community involvement and State Government involvement in the Project.

    7.3.5 Hawkesbury – Nepean Rivers (New South Wales)

    The Hawkesbury-Nepean river system west of Sydney covers a large catchment, home to almost 900,000 people. The river system stretches from inland Goulburn to Broken Bay on the coast north of Sydney. The Hawkesbury-Nepean Catchment Management Trust was established in 1993 as a result of community concern about catchment health. Until the recent (April 2000) ministerial announcement of its imminent disbandment the Trust operated under the Catchment Management Act, 1989, reporting to the Minister for Land and Water Conservation. The Trust has been funded by grants from State and Commonwealth governments and contributions from other organisations, including universities.

    During its term of office the Trust produced a Strategic Plan for management of the catchment. Responsibility for overseeing the implementation of that plan was to have been in the hands of the Trust Board representing landholders, landusers, local government, environment groups and state agencies.

    (Note: Although the Trust has been disbanded, an objective assessment of its draft strategy indicates that it is a well-researched and robust document, exemplary of its kind).

    7.3.6 Upper Parramatta River, Sydney (New South Wales)

    The Upper Parramatta River catchment is defined as the catchment of the freshwater portion of the river and includes parts of the local government areas of Blacktown, Holroyd, Parramatta and Baulkham Hills in western Sydney. The bulk of the catchment is highly urbanised.

    The Upper Parramatta River Catchment Trust was established by the NSW Government in 1989 to accelerate the provision of flood mitigation works and measures, improve water quality and undertake associated activities in the Upper Parramatta River catchment area. The Trust comes within the administration of the Minister for Land and Water Conservation, and is funded by an environmental levy charged on rateable properties in the catchment. The levy is collected annually by Sydney Water on behalf of the Trust.

    The Trust's mission is to coordinate the management of natural resources and natural hazards to meet the expectations and aspirations of current and future catchment residents. Priorities include community education and involvement, catchment coordination and planning, floodplain management, stormwater management, and vegetation management.

    To date the Trust has achieved improved water quality, decreased flooding of homes, increased community education and involvement, and increased cooperation between local councils.

    7.3.7 Jervis Bay (New South Wales)

    Jervis Bay is located on the New South Wales south coast, east of Nowra. The region is renowned for its natural, cultural and recreational values – attributes which have helped to generate significant population and tourism growth which in turn have placed pressure on the features valued by residents and visitors.

    In recognition of the need to ensure sustainable management of the region, the Jervis Bay Integrated Management Project was initiated in January 1999 by the National Parks and Wildlife Service. The project addresses concerns raised by the community, industry and government agencies about the need to adopt a more integrated approach to management and to protect the land and waters of the Jervis Bay region whilst providing opportunities for sustainable development. The Project is funded by the Commonwealth Government Coast and Clean Seas initiative, NPWS, and Shoalhaven City Council.

    The Project is developing guidelines for an integrated approach to management, providing a framework for coordinating the activities of different agencies towards achieving common goals.

    7.3.8 Lower Hunter, Central Coast (New South Wales)

    In 1996, seven local authorities in the Lower Hunter River and Central Coast regions of New South Wales endorsed a regional environmental management strategy. A key feature of this initiative was the agreement amongst the partners that issues such as biodiversity conservation, water and air quality management, and erosion and sediment control, can best be managed at a regional or catchment level. Projects were identified across 8 sectors of activity ranging from a biodiversity conservation strategy to community education and the design of regional coordination processes.

    7.4 Overseas experience

    7.4.1 Mersey Valley (United Kingdom)

    The Mersey Basin links Manchester with Liverpool in an area of around 4680km2 with 2000km of watercourses. At the Liverpool end, the Mersey Estuary is of great importance to the economy and environment of the region, with its trade links, its industry, its urban settlements and its important eco-systems. The catchment drains a large, highly developed urban area and industrial area. Until the advent of the Mersey Valley Campaign, high pollution loads from industrial sources in particular had resulted in the estuary achieving the unenviable reputation as the foulest in Western Europe.

    The Mersey Basin Campaign was launched in 1985 as a 25-year central government backed partnership uniting local authorities, businesses, voluntary organisations and government agencies to deliver water quality improvements and waterside regeneration throughout the Basin. The vision of the Campaign is to improve water quality so that all waterways are clean enough to support aquatic life; to stimulate the development of attractive waterside environments; and to encourage people to value watercourses and waterfront environments.

    Through the formulation of a set of 'River Valley Initiatives' (eg. improving water quality, clearing contamination), there has been an increase in the proportion of the catchment area able to support aquatic life from 50% in 1985 to 70% in 1997. The Campaign has encouraged community involvement through events such as the 'Mersey Basin Weekend', a community event focussing on improvement of local waterways, including fishing competitions and guided walks. The Campaign has published an Estuary Management Plan, which provides a framework for coordinated action to ensure sustainable development throughout the Estuary.

    The Campaign relies on partnerships between local authorities, businesses, community groups and government agencies, and has set up different bodies to accommodate various organisational needs. The Mersey Basin Trust is a registered charity set up to assist voluntary organisations and schools. The Mersey Basin Business Foundation harnesses the efforts of the business community and the Mersey Basin Campaign promotes, manages & supports the overall campaign effort.

    7.4.2 Thames Estuary (United Kingdom)

    The Thames Estuary is one of Britain's greatest natural resources, being the setting for the national capital and its associated cultural, economic, social and physical infrastructure.

    The Thames Estuary Project (later renamed Thames Estuary Partnership) was initiated in 1993, its primary role being to prepare management guidelines for the Estuary and develop a partnership that involves and coordinates a wide range of users and interests. By addressing social, economic and environmental issues in an integrated way, the Partnership aims to make the Thames 'an estuary which is valued and appreciated as a place to live, work and relax, an environmental asset and a focus for economic growth'.

    The Partnership has prepared management guidelines as a framework to coordinate and guide action across the estuary. Partnerships have been established with a wide range of organisations and individuals including local authorities, national agencies and organisations, government departments, business and industry, water companies, the waste sector, education sector, conservation, heritage and environment groups. University College London is a lead academic and academic partner.

    7.4.3 Massachusetts Bays (USA)

    The Massachusetts Bays cover 800 miles of East Coast North America, from the tip of Cape Cod to the border of New Hampshire, an area which includes the erstwhile highly polluted Boston Harbor. The Bays Program was launched in 1988 to develop regional solutions to pollution problems in the Bays and their adjacent watersheds and actively address the mounting environmental threats to the health of Massachusetts and Cape Cod Bays. The Program is funded under the Clean Water Act through the US Environmental Protection Agency and administered by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs.

    In its early stages the Program focussed on scientific research to determine the specifics of issues effecting the health of the Bays. Following initial research, a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan was finalised in 1996. The Plan serves as a blueprint for coordinating action among all levels of government, with the aim of restoring and protecting water quality and the diverse natural resources of the Massachusetts Bays estuary. Within the Plan are fifteen individual action plans.

    The Massachusetts Bays Program is a successful example of a joint effort linking local, state and federal governments, as well as citizens, scientists, educators, and businesses. The Urban Harbours Institute at the University of Massachusetts plays a lead role in linking these groups in collaborative efforts of various kinds.

    7.4.4 Chesapeake Bay (USA)

    Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States, draining sections of six east-coast States to the Atlantic Ocean. The catchment is home to more than 15 million people.

    The Chesapeake Bay Program arose from the findings of an investigation of environmental problems undertaken by the US Environmental Protection Authority. The findings indicated ten areas of environmental concern in the Bay, and formed the basis for the Chesapeake Bay Agreement signed in 1983. The Agreement assigned Bay management to the national Environment Protection Agency in partnership with state government, local government and the Chesapeake Bay Commission (an interstate legislative coordinating body). The partnership agreed to develop and implement coordinated plans to protect water quality and living resources of Chesapeake Bay. A second agreement, which expanded on the previous agreement, was signed in 1987.

    The 1983 Agreement established the major components of a structure to manage the Bay, including the establishment of the Chesapeake Executive Council, Implementation Committee, and the EPA's Chesapeake Liaison Office. A Bay-wide monitoring program was established to gather basic data. Commitment to restoring the Bay has enabled states whose institutions and political traditions differ and federal agencies with diverse missions to work together to solve common problems. The Chesapeake Executive Council provides leadership and focus to shape the work of the partnership institutions. The Program also has a Citizens Advisory Committee, Local Government Advisory Committee and Scientific & Technical Committee. Results to date have been remarkably successful, with the Program being recognised as a worldwide leader.

    7.4.5 Meewasin Valley (Canada)

    The Meewasin Valley is located in the Province of Saskatchewan and embraces areas of mixed landuse, high-density urban development, cultivated fields, and pristine natural features. Environmental degradation led to the Meewasin Valley Authority being established in 1979 by an Act of the Saskatchewan Legislature (Meewasin Valley Authority Act). The Authority is a partnership of the City of Saskatoon, the Province of Saskatchewan and the University of Saskatchewan.

    The Authority is dedicated to protecting the natural and cultural heritage resources of the Valley. It works with the support of the Province of Saskatchewan, the City of Saskatoon and the University of Saskatchewan, and undertakes projects in river valley education, development and conservation.

    The Authority's mission is 'to ensure a healthy and vibrant river valley, with a balance between human use and conservation'. To assist in its work, the Authority has formulated a 'State of the Valley Report Card'. This reporting system measures effectiveness of land management in the Meewasin Valley using key indicators designed to reflect the State of the Valley. The indicators provide important baseline environmental data, which is collected and analysed using a Geographic Information System.

    7.4.6 Toronto – Lake Ontario waterfront (Canada)

    In the early 1990s the Royal Commission on the Future of Toronto's Waterfront was established to report on the condition of the Port Industrial District.

    The Commission made a number of recommendations for the future planning and redevelopment of the Port. Existing buildings were to be adapted for new uses; the land / water profile of the area was to be retained along with the patterns of road, rail and services provision; new environmental standards (supported by science) were to be implemented. Although the program can be seen as being more 'brown' than 'green' it demonstrates yet again that a community and governmental effort, supported by good scientific and technical resources, can deliver results of benefit to all parties.

    Changing activities on the Toronto waterfront have resulted in a diversity of landuse in the area. In recognition of these changes and the growing community living and working around the Bay, the Toronto Bay Initiative was established in 1997. The aim of the initiative is to implement community-based projects that contribute to improved health of the Bay and its catchment. There is a particular focus on water quality, habitat restoration, improved public access to the water, links with upstream programs and ecological understanding.

    The Toronto Bay Initiative is a major project of the Waterfront Regeneration Trust and works in partnership with the Toronto City Council. The Waterfront Regeneration Trust is working to revitalise the Toronto Bay waterfront, with projects including creation of economic development in the area and promotion of community participation.

    7.4.7 Vancouver (Canada)

    The Port of Vancouver is Canada's largest port, serving cargo ships, cruise ships, and bordered by eight municipalities. The Vancouver Port Corporation (VPC) undertook a strategic planning process (PORT 2010 Land Use Management Plan) in June 1994 to plan for the port's future. Their objective is to manage the port effectively for its customers while respecting the natural environment and the concerns of adjacent communities.

    The VPC has adopted policies for future growth taking into account the needs of all stakeholders. Landuse policy has been designed to protect waterfront land, ensure public access to the waterfront, support marine-related commercial and public sector harbour operations, manage recreational water resources to the benefit of marine recreational users, and sustain and protect the environment. In formulating these policies, the VPC placed considerable e importance on widespread public consultation over an extended time period.

    7.4.8 Hudson River (USA)

    New York's Hudson River is a stream of international status, but its environment has suffered due to the high-density development within its catchment. In response to widespread public concern about inappropriate development along the River, the Hudson River Foundation for Science and Environmental Research was established in 1981 under an agreement between environmental groups, government agencies, and utility companies. Grants and donations from all levels of government and other organisations support the Foundation.

    A central aim of the Hudson River Foundation is to make science integral to decision-making with regard to the River and its catchment. Accordingly, its work consists of an integrated program of research, monitoring, modelling and education in relation to the management of all Hudson River resources.

    7.4.9 San Francisco Bay (USA)

    San Francisco Bay plays a crucially important role in the economy of the western United States. The Bay is a major regional recreational asset, contributes to the climate of the area, and nourishes fish and wildlife.

    In response to poor landuse in and around the Bay, the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission prepared a Bay Plan to guide future uses of the Bay and its shoreline and protect the Bay as an irreplaceable environmental resource. The original Bay Plan was completed in 1968, following the introduction of Bay area planning legislation. The Plan is amended periodically.

    In 1993 a comprehensive conservation and management plan was prepared for the San Francisco Estuary. This document was developed by the San Francisco Estuary Project, a cooperative federal-state partnership. The project brought together more than 100 government, private and community interests to develop the plan for protecting and restoring the estuary while maintaining its beneficial uses. Initial research and action priorities included the decline of biological resources, pollutants, impacts of freshwater diversions and altered river flow regimes, intensified land use, and increased dredging and waterway modification.

    The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) is also strongly involved in the management of San Francisco Bay. ABAG, although much bigger, has many similarities to SSROC as a coalition of local government authorities working together for the common good. ABAG's achievements include the highly successful 'Bay Trail' (still being developed) which is a continuous system of walking and cycling trails around the 400 mile Bay perimeter.


    Chapter 8 FUTURE BAY MANAGEMENT: ORGANISATION, RESPONSIBILITIES, CONCERNS

    8.1 Generally

    Analysis of local and overseas counterpart Bay management programs, complemented by an extensive program of local consultations, suggests that if community aspirations are to be satisfied there are several basic requirements which should be considered for adoption within a new Bay management system. Translated into a local or New South Wales context, these requirements are presented for further discussion in the following section.

    In any search for a new Bay management model, current political realities in New South Wales must be acknowledged. These include the recent Ministerial decision to disband the Hawkesbury – Nepean Catchment Management Trust; as well as the advent of the Southern Sydney Catchment Management Board with its governmental mandate to produce a draft strategy for the catchment by year's end.

    The release of PlanFirst by DUAP is another State initiative which could have significant implications for Bay management. Amongst the elements of the proposed new planning system is the establishment of regional forums which would advise government on regional strategies as well as on local plans. Forums would work with Catchment Management Boards which are seen as a major source of advice and information on specific regional issues.

    Responsibilities of the proposed forums would include:

    8.2 Management

    8.2.1 Territory

    For management and scientific purposes, the Bay must be taken to include Botany Bay and the two rivers. Smaller geographic units, sub-catchments or specific localities could be identified for particular purposes when necessary.

    8.2.2 Cabinet recognition

    Formal Cabinet recognition of a need for – and commitment to - Bay science and Bay planning should be evident, reflected in the inclusion of primary responsibility for the Botany Bay system as a named element in the portfolio of a senior Minister. Final decision-making powers would reside with that Minister.

    8.2.3 Dedicated management unit

    At the operational level, responsibility for research, policy formulation, and the overall management of the Bay's environmental resources should be assigned to a dedicated management unit, appropriately funded and empowered

    8.2.4 Independence

    A Botany Bay management entity should have a degree of independence such that its primary focus – ie. the delivery of holistic resource management processes – is not seen to be part of the jurisdictional territory of a particular agency; with the opportunity – endorsed at ministerial level – to play a pro-active "facilitation" role in its dealings with agencies and public bodies.

    8.2.5 Staff – money

    The new management entity should have a small full-time staff and full-time manager funded in part (for example) from a local government environmental levy across all constituent councils and in part by way of grants from federal and /or state governments.
     

    Table 8: Annual levy calculation from 1996 census data (EXAMPLE ONLY)

    LGA

    Households$10 Levy$15 Levy

    Bankstown

    51408

    514080

    771120

    Botany Bay

    12266

    122660

    183990

    Canterbury

    44486

    444860

    667290

    Hurstville

    23505

    235050

    352575

    Kogarah

    16825

    168250

    252375

    Marrickville

    28394

    283940

    425910

    Randwick

    44357

    443570

    665355

    Rockdale

    30905

    309050

    463575

    South Sydney

    33424

    334240

    501360

    Sutherland Shire

    66964

    669640

    1004460

    Waverley

    25249

    252490

    378735

    Woollahra

    20826

    208260

    312390

    TOTAL SSROC

    398609

    3986090

    5979135

    Source: BB Program


    8.2.6 Policy group

    Policy issues should be determined by a top-level group broadly representative of all Bay interests, local government, State and Commonwealth agencies, the scientific community, and the industry and environmental sectors. As aids to policy debate, parties should be required (where appropriate) to provide environmental and economic assessment reports as well as SoE reports – all of which should be publicly available.

    8.2.7 Management committees

    Below the policy group, other management and consultative functions should be assigned to appropriate committees and sub-committees with well-defined roles, responsibilities and delegations.

    8.3 The Healthy Rivers Commission Draft Model

    In its draft report of October 2000 the HRC advanced a management model for the Bay system which is presented herein at Appendix 4. Its draft status remains at the time of writing, awaiting the release of the final report of the HRC later this year.

    8.4 Southern Sydney Catchment Management Board

    The SSCMB is working towards completion of a draft catchment management strategy by year's end. It is currently performing its statutory management role within a limited resource base, reliant on support from the Department of Land and Water Resources and other agencies. The Board is perceived by many as an agent of DLWC, lacking independence and the ability to generate the level of funding which could cover a serious scientific research program.

    Although it is proceeding diligently towards its nominated goals there is concern at the community level that the Board will lack the powers and resources to ensure timely implementation of its catchment management strategy after its final adoption by government. Doubtless this and related issues will be addressed in the Board's forthcoming draft plan. However, (putting aside questions relating to powers and resources) it must reasonably be assumed that for the foreseeable future at least, the Board will continue in business as the nearest approach to a catchment 'natural resource planning' agency which has so far been put in place.

    8.5 Current Uncertainties

    Since the Botany Bay Program commenced in May 2000, the State governmental context for its work has changed considerably. Further progress with the Program as originally foreshadowed in its terms of reference must necessarily have regard to the current consequences of change during the past year. Uncertainties within the general area of Bay management are of particular concern.

    At the time of writing there is uncertainty regarding:

    The terms of reference for the Botany Bay Program were drawn up and endorsed before these uncertainties emerged. For the Program, such uncertainties cannot be ignored. The challenge for the BBP is to devise a response which answers the requirements of its brief whilst recognising the political and bureaucratic realities which currently surround the wider issue of catchment management in metropolitan Sydney.

    These realities include a state government decision to abolish one of Sydney's four existing catchment management organisations, and the current work by a State-appointed board on the preparation of a management strategy for precisely the same geographical area as that which is the focus of the BBP.

    With regard to the Southern Sydney Catchment Management Board, its future operation may well depend (in part at least) on the Government's response to HRC recommendations. For the BBP to advance yet another management model in the present climate of uncertainty is not considered to be a realistic option.

    There is nevertheless an immediate opportunity for the Botany Bay Program to augment and complement the important work of the SSCMB in an appropriate way. This would ensure that if the SSCMB is replaced by a new entity at some time in the future, that new entity would at least have had the benefit of access to the outputs of the BBP – and if the BBP survives in some form it would of course be available as an ongoing resource to that new entity.

    8.6 Current Relationships Between the Botany Bay Program, HRC and SSCMB; Future Prospects

    As noted above, the advent of the Southern Sydney Catchment Management Board represents a significant change to the state governmental arrangements which were in place at the time the Botany Bay program was launched. The new Board is mandated under State law to produce a catchment plan for the Bay within a defined time frame. Procedures and methodologies for undertaking this work are set out in considerable detail in official documents produced by DLWC. The Board is working to a tight schedule, its work program embracing matters which were included (implicitly or explicitly) in the Terms of Reference for the Botany Bay Program.

    The public interest will not be well served by perceptions that the BBP is in actual or potential conflict with the work of the SSCMB. On the contrary, there would appear to be considerable public benefit in exploiting the newly-emerged opportunity for the Botany Bay Program to work with the Board and complement its work – with support (for example) in the areas of scientific research, community liaison, community education, mapping and related areas of common interest.

    It would seem to be inevitable that the SSCMB will itself be addressing many of the tasks set out in the original BBP terms of reference. As a consequence, the BBP could logically be modified to include other work of a cognate nature (eg GIS mapping) whilst retaining its original focus on the search for effective long-term mechanisms for Bay management.

    Should the State Government endorse the HRC recommended model there would seem to be no reason why the BBP (perhaps in a different guise) could not work productively with a replacement organisation in due course.

    Whilst these uncertainties remain, the most appropriate short-term role for the Botany Bay Program will be to complement any catchment management model which might be contemplated by the State Government, and which could survive future shifts in official bay management arrangements.

    Additionally, the BBP could be seen (and is so proposed in this report) as the precursor of a permanent studies unit for research, training and advocacy focussed on Bay issues. The creation of such a research and promotional body, supported by voluntary partnership agreements between interested agencies, public corporations and the private sector and designed from the outset to fulfil such a role might well be regarded as one of the most valuable outcomes of the of the current Program – following or coinciding with the establishment of a new catchment management model.

    8.7 A Botany Bay Studies Unit at the University of New South Wales

    8.7.1 Generally

    It remains uncertain whether the State Government will endorse a proposal for new management arrangements for BB, notwithstanding the significant findings and well-argued recommendations of the HRC Inquiry.

    Outside state government circles there appears to be little confidence in the present arrangements. Indeed, evidence from the HRC and a many other sources points to the conclusion that despite the advent of the Southern Sydney Catchment Management Board, overall management of the Bay is in disarray. The vacuum at the highest level of political leadership remains unfilled.

    Nearby to the north, Sydney Harbour enjoys Ministerial attention and continues to receive kudos and accolades whilst Botany Bay languishes - despite the existence of a strong public mandate for government to rectify the situation. The SSCMB may well deliver some good news at the end of its first term; but it is unlikely to meet the expectations of the HRC or the Botany Bay Program because of its inability to deliver on the 'critical success factors' identified by the former in its October 2000 draft report (pp.169-170). The list of factors includes

    Given the dilemma which is inherent in this situation, recent work within the Botany Bay Program has focussed on a search for other mechanisms which might have the potential to contribute to an improvement in the health of the Bay and its catchment – regardless of the prevailing administrative arrangements.

    In essence, work has sought to identify an 'entity' which could successfully take over from, and continue the efforts of the existing Botany Bay Program without disturbing current governmental priorities and management arrangements. In so doing, the focus of the Program has shifted. Whilst the initial emphasis was on Bay management, recent work has led to a different view of key priorities. In particular, it is suggested that if a means could be found to improve the knowledge base surrounding Bay management, the future would see better decisions and an improvement in Bay health over time – regardless of which management 'model' was in place at a particular time.

    To answer this need, a proposal is advanced to create a unit for Botany Bay studies within the Centre for Marine and Coastal Studies at the University of New South Wales. This University is located within the Bay catchment, and has a long history of research into Bay issues. The campus is in close proximity to major bayside developments and infrastructure. Initial discussions at a senior level indicate considerable support for the proposal.

    Once established, the unit would act as a resource to support whatever Bay management entity might be in place at a particular time. In the short term the unit could assist the SSCMB with research related to its statutory obligations associated with the preparation of its catchment management strategy.

    8.7.2 The University of NSW and the Bay

    It is proposed to continue recent fruitful discussions with the University of New South Wales with a view to assessing the feasibility of establishing a dedicated unit for Botany Bay studies on the Kensington campus.

    Subject to further negotiations and agreements, it is envisaged that the new unit could be located within the existing Centre for Marine and Coastal Studies (CMCS) and would enjoy limited logistical and staff support from the University. Funds would be sought from major public and private Bayside corporations as well as from state and federal sources, through established University mechanisms (eg the Research Office) to support research projects and the coordination work of the unit.

    The proposed Botany Bay unit would complement the work of the existing CMCS but with a particular mandate for the execution of research on Bay issues. It would work with government bodies and organisations (such as the SSCMB). It would act as a conduit between the University, other universities and research establishments, SSROC and the community sector. It would build links with State agencies and with similar bodies in Australia and overseas (eg the Urban Harbours Institute at the University of Massachusetts, with which body an informal agreement has already been reached to explore possible linkages). Initial work priorities might include building a comprehensive electronic GIS mapping resource and the creation of a database listing all significant scientific work which remains relevant to current Bay management needs.

    As sufficient external funding is achieved through the University, the unit would establish an appropriate small full-time staff to administer and undertake research geared in the first instance to the specific needs of Bay management. A key first step will be the development of a research program prepared by a scientific advisory group whose members would be drawn from a number of universities and research bodies, NGOs, industry and government (amongst others). It is envisaged that research projects would be undertaken in a variety of ways ranging from expert teams applying for grant support through to particular projects being put out to tender by the unit.

    8.7.3 Provisional list of tasks and responsibilities which might be undertaken by the proposed new Botany Bay studies unit

    Generally, the proposed unit would be responsible for undertaking and ensuring the successful implementation of tasks assigned to it by decision of its governing body. More specifically, the unit would be responsible for:

    i. identifying current Bay problems and their causes, along with developing a data base on Bay information; and, in collaboration with stakeholders, preparing a plan for further information gathering and data interpretation. This could include establishing a scientific library and information service; creating a Web site linked to an electronic mapping and data base (already in hand); and ensuring that such resources are made available to scientists, the general public, government agencies and local authorities. In this work, liaison with the Office of the Sydney Harbour Manager, DUAP and agencies would be undertaken to ensure compatibility of software systems, programs; and to work towards the eventual creation of a metropolitan GIS facility available to all;

    ii. commissioning an independent audit of the hydrodynamic model currently used by the SPC in order to increase public confidence in its efficacy; followed by expansion of the model to cover biological responses to changes in the system;

    iii. commissioning and ensuring the successful completion of scientific research and consultancies as may be recommended by a scientific advisory group;

    iv. helping to identify current environmental problems in the Bay to aid the examination of 'cause and effect ' relationships and the provision of sound advice to management;

    v. assisting as appropriate in the promulgation / dissemination of the results of such research (eg publishing regular newsletters, organising conferences, seminars, forums on Bay science – including an annual event devoted to presenting research results, publications and projects);

    vi. undertaking or facilitating community education programs focussing on Bay science;

    vii. maintaining regular liaison with Bay stakeholders and partners including government (local state and federal), non-government organisations, industry / business and research agencies, and specifically with the Office of the Sydney Harbour Manager and all catchment managers in the Sydney region, and ensuring that they were kept informed on unit activities;

    viii. establishing and maintaining liaison with counterpart research centres in Australia and overseas;

    ix. seeking outside funding and support for scientific research, a community education program, and other projects undertaken by the unit.

    Over and above the activities listed would be an initial commitment to organising a comprehensive 'state of the Bay' research program comparable in scope and depth to those which were recently executed for Moreton Bay and Port Phillip Bay. Those vital early programs established the necessary scientific contexts for the later strategic plans for bay improvements and for the community education work which accompanied them.

    8.7.4 Funding

    Initial establishment costs of the proposed Botany Bay studies unit could be covered by grant moneys from state and /or federal funds. Subject to detailed agreement, the University may be able to provide office space and limited logistical support. Once operational, the intention would be to make the unit largely self-funded.

    Principles for fund management could include:

    8.8 An Alternative Management Model

    Towards the end of 2000 the Botany Bay program brought together representatives of some 26 community based environmental groups in the catchment to share their experiences and give preliminary consideration to questions relating to their role in Bay management.

    After several months of interaction and consultation a proposed management model was developed for endorsement by member groups. In addition, group members commenced discussions on the possibility of establishing a coalition or 'umbrella' group which would link all local environmental groups in the region and provide a vehicle for the development of common policies on environmental matters.

    At the time of writing, early interactions between the community/NGO sector, local government, and members of the scientific community are under way. It is confidently expected that these will lead to more permanent connections between the three sectors, thereby facilitating debate about research priorities and the application of scientific knowledge to on-ground environmental improvement projects.

    Appendix 3 presents in full the latest position on Bay management and what is termed a 'programs approach' to catchment improvement – as developed by those environmental groups already consulted on the BBP. This approach is entirely consistent with the proposition discussed above, to the effect that no time should be lost in undertaking urgent research and improvement works. These activities should not be put aside simply because the issue of Bay management arrangements still awaits resolution.

    8.9 Partnerships

    Partnerships have been successful vehicles for real progress in bay management programs elsewhere in Australia and overseas. In Botany Bay, there would appear to good prospects for adoption of the partnership model almost immediately, irrespective of what might be happening in State Government circles. To this end, the provisional commitment of May 24 towards a Botany Bay partnership is particularly encouraging. As this proposal evolves, the involvement of state and federal agencies and of the private corporate sector would be logical extensions.

    8.10 The Sydney Harbour Management Model

    In 1998, 11 key State Government agencies and organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding which led to the creation of the Office of Sydney Harbour Manager within DUAP. The key roles of the new manager, (reporting directly to the Director-General of the Department and appointed for an initial three-year term) were to

    The Office of Harbour Manager was subsequently established with an initial operational budget of some $400,000 and a total staff of 3. Since inception, the Office has had considerable success in raising the profile of the Harbour, in gaining agency agreements on specific projects and programs, and in building firm links with local, state, and federal government; with industry and commerce; with science; and with the wider community.

    Botany Bay is not Sydney Harbour, and similarities between the two are few. However, the precedent set by the State Government in establishing the Office of Harbour Manager may offer some lessons for Botany Bay – reflecting as it clearly does an apparent determination to bring a focus to various activities of government as they relate to the vitally important task of managing the nation's foremost maritime resource. The Sydney Harbour Manager enjoys a direct reporting line the Director-General of DUAP and thence to the Minister – an arrangement which confirms that State Cabinet has accepted responsibility for Harbour management.

    Botany Bay deserves a commensurate level of concern.


    Chapter 9 CONCLUSION

    Botany Bay's rich pre-European cultural associations and its 230 years of colonial and national history have made its name well known internationally. As a complex ecological system of rivers, wetlands and bay it has few counterparts on the Australian coast. As one of the nation's most important and heavily resourced multi-modal transport centres it has achieved global significance. And for a growing number of visitors to Sydney and Australia it offers the first close-up views of the nation.

    This heritage is today influenced and shaped by the efforts of its citizens, its indigenous people, its local government councils and of numerous other official agencies and private sector organisations. Sometimes these efforts have positive impacts on the Bay's environment; sometimes the reverse occurs. In management terms the end result is a complex system which has grown haphazardly without the benefits of serious science and often at the expense of sensitive environmental and community resources.

    Through its 1999 agreement with the Commonwealth, the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils undertook to prepare a framework for the better environmental management of the Botany Bay catchment. Subsequently, the unexpected advent of a state government appointed Management Board for the south Sydney catchment generated a shift in the Program's objectives. The Program was further influenced by the release of the draft Report of the Healthy Rivers Commission on the Georges River Botany Bay System.

    This report presents evidence from many sources to support the HRC finding that the Bay deserves to be assigned to a dedicated management entity whose efforts would be guided by ESD principles, by good science, and by community input to the management process. The achievement of such a goal will take time, energy, and a positive commitment from state government to replace the lethargy and disinterest which have seemingly prevailed to date – even at Cabinet level.

    In the meantime, pending the introduction of new management arrangements, the Report sees it as important that the valuable work of the SSCMB be allowed to continue to fruition, helped where possible by the BBP. New partnership arrangements between Bay groups are already underway. Additionally, the creation of a special unit for Botany Bay Studies at the University of New South Wales is proposed. Its principal function would be to fill the management and coordination vacuum which has existed in the field of Botany Bay science for several decades.

    These recent actions could trigger the release of other energies necessary to 'turn the tide' in Botany Bay – forever.


    KEY REFERENCES

    Preparation of this Discussion Paper involved reference to many documents from local, interstate and overseas sources. Presented below is a selection of the key references. A complete list is held on the Botany Bay Program database.


    APPENDICES

    Appendix 1 Natural Geomorphological Evolution of the Botany Bay Catchment During the last 10,000 Years


     

    Evolutionary Stage

    Period (years before present)

    Characteristics of Botany Bay

    Phase 1

    Pre 9000

    • Bay area is a swampy plain situated 20m below present sea level
    • The Cooks and Georges Rivers flow through the southern and western portions of the plain and converge with the Hacking River in the vicinity of present-day Cronulla Beach

    Phase 2

    7000-9000

    • Sea level rises to within –9 to –20m of present level causing closure of Georges / Cook / Hacking mouth at Bate Bay by a marine sand barrier and transgressive dune field and a shallow estuary develops behind the barrier
    • Net northward littoral drift carries marine sand into the estuary through Botany Heads and shoaling waves distribute the sediment over the bed.
    • Fluvial sediment trapped in upper reaches of the Hacking and Georges Rivers and the southern portion of the estuary becomes a depositional environment
    • Georges River traverses through Woolooware, Weeny and Quibray Bays and develops marginal shoals in Towra area

    Phase 3

    4000-7000

    • Sea level stabilises and is associated with a reduction in the supply of marine sediment transport into the estuary
    • In the very early stages of this phase the supply of marine sand is still substantial and Kurnell sand spit progrades, constricting the mouth of the Georges River and causing it to divert to the north east
    • Extensive beach ridges develop in the Lady Robinsons Beach area
    • Deflation and drift processes rework the sediment supply in the sand barrier resulting in the repositioning of the Hacking River mouth to its present location

    Phase 4

    1000-4000

    • As marine sediment influx diminishes, estuarine sediments are reworked and regions of the bay area are characterised by erosion
    • Parabolic dunes develop on the barrier at Bate Bay and transgress into Quibray and Weeney Bays under the influence of strong southerly winds
    • The abandoned Georges channel infills further as Kurnell continues to prograde
    • Active Georges River channel rotates north due to the ebb current and refracted ocean wave interaction; an accurate mouth bar and levee shoals form

    Phase 5

    1000- present

    • Erosion of the southern Lady Robinsons Beach complex results from the attenuation and westward realignment of the Georges River channel
    • Due to this channel realignment, development of a westward drift pattern of sand transport along Towra Beach occurred (previously littoral drift had been in a southeast direction).

    (Source: Roy and Crawford, 1988, in Cowell & Kannane, 2000)


    Appendix 2 Environmental NGO Forum Results

    Source: Botany Bay Program, 2000, Report of NGO Conservation Groups Wednesday 8 November 2000.

    The purpose of the meeting was outlined as:

    1. to have each person outline their organisation's issues of concern;

    2. to discuss how NGOs might best be involved in a management structure for the Bay environment; and

    3. to come up with a 'statement of intent' from the meeting about the terms of NGO participation in managing the Bay

    Following is a summary of the issues of concern.

    Fragmentation of authority

    A number of authorities are currently concerned with managing the Bay's environment, and there have been numerous past recommendations that have not been implemented. A broader management structure is needed.

    Development Control Plans, Local Environment Plans, Environmental Impact Assessment, Plans of Management, Action Plans – why don't they work?

    Studies, plans, policies and development controls all purport to protect the environment and control impacts upon it. Large developments are controlled in this way but the cumulative impact of 'little' issues is not.

    Communication and accessibility of information

    In order for the community to respond to issues, it must be able to understand what is asked of it. All published material must be written in simple language, and set out in an uncomplicated manner. A community meeting place with equipment and funding is required for communicating and accessing information efficiently.

    Sale of public land

    Areas with habitat and stormwater protection values are being lost through the sale of public land, both state and federal.

    Kurnell Peninsula, Towra Point, Quibray Bay

    Of major concern is the continuation of sandmining, major residential development proposals and deterioration on Towra Point Nature Reserve. A review of the Kurnell Regional Environmental Plan and an independent strategic master plan for the Peninsula were suggested as a means of addressing the issues of concern.

    Taren Point

    The Taren Point area is threatened by dredging, waterway activity, commercialisation, marinas and oyster farming. A commercial area needs to be defined.

    Rockdale Wetlands

    The wetlands of Eve street, Spring Street, Landing Lights, Scarborough Park and Scott Park / Georges River mud flats require protection and improved management. These sites are bird habitat and fish nursery areas for Botany Bay.

    Cooks and Georges Rivers

    Protection of the headwaters of both rivers is a major issue. The cumulative impact of urban consolidation on the headwater areas is considerable. Water quality has deteriorated and some areas cannot be fished because of toxic substances found in marine life. Legal and illegal dumping take place, stormwater and sewage overflows are a problem.

    Algae study

    A study of the micro and macro organisms of the Bay is needed.

    Appendix 3 Environmental NGO Submission to the Botany Bay Program Model for Management of Botany Bay

    1. Introduction

    The following paper proposes a management model for Botany Bay and its catchments, the Georges River and the Cooks River. This model was derived after viewing several alternative management structures and considering the one proposed by the Healthy Rivers Commission. The context of the Bay, with its many government, industry, recreational and environmental groups, its environmental significance, and the pressures of urbanisation on three of its shores were central to our deliberations of a management model for the Port.

    Our original brief was to propose a management model for Botany Bay. It is clear to us that no management regime for Botany Bay that limits its purview of the Bay will be successful. Management of Georges River and Cooks River catchments must be an integral part of Bay management. Our proposed model, therefore, is for a Botany Bay Catchment Management Trust with boundaries along the lines of those currently drawn for the Southern Sydney Catchment Management Board.

    While we propose this model, we are acutely aware that Trust structures have not been a popular choice for State or Federal Governments. Since establishment of a Trust is likely to be a drawn-out, political process, we propose that, starting immediately, a program of works begin to deal with major environmental problems in Botany Bay. This program to be decided upon in consultation with environmental groups and the scientific community and in cooperation with local and state agencies.

    In this first part of this submission, we will outline the management model we support. In the second part of this submission, we discuss how a program might be organised to take immediate action on the many problems facing the Botany Bay catchment.

    2. Botany Bay Catchment Management Trust

    i. Context

    Any Management Model proposed for Botany Bay must recognise the context in which the Bay operates. These are:

    (a) Georges River, Cooks River and Penrhyn Estuary are integral to the health and workings of Botany Bay.

    (b) The Bay is a working port: Significant structures in the Bay support a shipping port, airport facilities, and an oil refinery. In addition, other, lesser facilities, support oyster farming and recreational pursuits. The Both the northern and south-western shores of the Bay also accommodate light industrial estates. The requirement for the Bay to continue in this commercial function is likely to increase rather than decrease. Expansion of port facilities are well underway, the airport is likely to be expanded in future. A question mark hangs over continuity of the oil refinery but it is likely to operate into the foreseeable future.

    (c) Botany Bay is a recreational area: recreational fishing, sailing, water skiing, motoring, paragliding, swimming, foreshore picnics and walking, etc. are part of the way people enjoy and think of the Bay. The demand for recreational possibilities is likely to increase as Sydney's population grows and as other recreation areas become saturated or degraded.

    (d) Part of the shore is lined with residential development. Residents place demands on mainly Councils to maintain amenities (views, beaches, retaining walls, etc.) even when altered natural processes change the viability of these amenities.

    (e) The Bay has national and international environmental and cultural significance. Much of the land and ecosystems identified with this significance is now administered by NPWS and Department of Fisheries. These sites are under threat from under-management and poorly coordinated management of Bay developments. Both agencies would benefit from coordinated programs.

    (f) The Bay is a highly dynamic biophysical system, dominated by marine and coastal processes involving waves, tides and currents. These processes have been causing natural changes within the Bay, some well understood, others poorly understood. Man-made structures and dredging operations have accelerated some natural processes and halted others. The concern is that the rate of change is beyond that to which flora and fauna can adapt, especially given the reduced, undeveloped space available in the Bay.

    (g) Information about the hydrodynamic and geomorphological processes in the Bay is scattered among various authorities and groups. There is no central repository of information, with the major authority in charge of development in the Bay (the Waterways Authority) not in control of the information, nor legislatively structured to appropriately manage Bay issues in an integrated manner.

    (h) Although the Georges River and Cooks River are significant tributaries of Botany Bay, the Healthy Rivers Commission Report states that the flow of their waters they do not significantly determine the health of the Bay. Oyster farmers in Botany Bay question this statement, claiming that every time it rains heavily, the Bay fills with e colli, causing oysters to be inedible for some time. The mouth of the Cooks River has been greatly modified and relocated. The airport runways and groynes along Lady Robinson Beach influence the river's waters and sediment deposits in the Bay. The major physical impact of the George's River on the Bay is on the movement of sand at its mouth. Developments influencing this sand movement especially impact on the form of Sandringham Point, and the western part of Towra Point.

    (i) A plethora of stakeholders "manage" and take an interest in the Bay: The large, easily identified players are:

      1. State Government: DUAP, Waterways Authority, DLWC, EPA, NPWS, Fisheries. Significant to the current inquiry may be the steps being taken by DLWC, through Catchment Boards, to establish policy directions for the Georges River, Cooks River and Botany Bay catchments. The task of the Board is to propose objectives and implementation strategies for their catchment. Most State Government agencies are represented on the Board, although there are some significant omissions, namely Waterways Authority and NPWS. The other initiative is that from the recently released "Plan First" document, arising from DUAPs efforts to examine the effectiveness of the EP&A Act which may see a number of regional boards
      2. Local Government: SSROC, SSC, Kogarah, Rockdale. Botany Bay, Randwick, Sutherland.
      3. State Owned Corporations: Sydney Water, Sydney Ports Corporation
      4. Industry: Australian Oil Refinery, Orica are two large groups, as well there are a plethora of smaller industries.
      5. Commonwealth Government: Sydney Airport Corporation, Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service and Environment Australia.

    In addition to these, there are environmental groups, recreation groups, cultural groups, educational interests, influence from residents' groups and from smaller industries located along the shores of the Bay.

    (j) The context in which a management structure must operate will be further complicated when the elements effecting the wider catchment are considered. The number of Councils increases to 17, the number of NGO taking an interested in the environment rises markedly, as do government agencies (RTA, Defence Department, SRA, etc.) and industries.

    (k) There are also a number of Aboriginal groupings who have a custodianship interest and well as commercial interest in both Botany Bay and the wider catchment. Their requirements and motivations are sometimes difficult to discern and accommodate but necessary to include in all plans of management.

    ii. Success Factors

    To succeed, a management structure must have credibility, expertise and resources. Given the number of stakeholders and the magnitude of the coordination task of the Botany Bay catchment, the following factors are critical to the success of a management program for the Bay:

    1. A management structure that is accepted by key stakeholders, comprising Federal, State and Local governments, private industry, environment, recreational and cultural groups. This requires the structure to have appropriate representation and a legislative basis. The Catchment Management Act 1989 provides the required legislative basis. Adequate representation must be at the policy-making level and at the implementation level, and must include stakeholders from Federal Government.

    2. Transparent and accountable decision-making. Transparency enables maximal input from stakeholders and enables monitoring to ensure accountable decision-making. Formal feedback, such as regular public reporting against publicised pre-set targets/projects, is one method of encouraging transparency. Another method is to provide forums for participation and input of stakeholders.

    3. At the implementation level, there should be provision for representation and participation such as occurred at Catchment Management Committees.

    4. Clear delineation of responsibility. At the very least, the "Trust" should be able to control/influence all development and use within the Bay catchment. This means having significant controlling influence on development activity in the Georges River and Cooks River catchments – or developments in other parts of Sydney that will affect Botany Bay.

    5. Have a good and stable source of funding – or access to funding - to both carry out management functions and works. Rather than carrying out works itself, it may be more appropriate for the "Botany Bay Catchment Trust" to oversee or encourage integrated works programs already being carried out by government and non-government organisations. The Healthy Rivers Commission Report pointed out that problems in the Bay do not necessarily arise from a lack of effort and works within the Bay, but from piecemeal and non-integrated works. Once again, the Catchment Management Act (1989) provides the basis under which such funding can be obtained. There are already precedents in Botany Bay where activities have been jointly funded (e.g. the groynes along Lady Robinsons Beach).

    6. A good base of data. Given the highly dynamic and integrated use of the Bay, reliable, up-to-date, and comprehensive data is vital. The Healthy Rivers Commission Report suggests the involvement of a scientific committee. The Botany Bay Program manager has already moved some ways towards establishing such a committee. In addition, there are several moves to centralise sources of data.

    7. Early development of strategic management framework/plan for the Bay. Such a plan must be the first task of the Trust and must have the consent of stakeholders. Much of the work towards such a plan has already been carried out by the Healthy Rivers Commission and will be enhanced by the work being done by the Southern Sydney Catchment Management Board.

    iii. Management Model

    We believe that the proposed model appropriately incorporates the success factors. It has as its legislative basis, the Catchment Management Act (1989) and is responsible to a Minister in the State Government of NSW. Operationally it operates with a group of Trustees who meet on a regular basis (quarterly or bi-monthly) to review the operation of the Trust, set strategies and plans, and generally provide direction. It has powers to raise money (through levies and other means) and decide how to disburse those funds. It has power to do works, to monitor and regulate the works of others and to contract that works be done. It has power to employ people and to operate premises:

    PROPOSED STRUCTURE FOR THE BOTANY BAY CATCHMENT MANAGEMENT TRUST

    Graphic: PROPOSED STRUCTURE FOR THE BOTANY BAY CATCHMENT MANAGEMENT TRUST


     

    1. Trustees – these are as appointed by the Governor (S22(1)) on recommendation of the Minister and is responsible to the Minister Administering the Catchment Management Act (S24). The Trustees will comprise a range of stakeholders, as specified in the Act and must comprise a majority of landusers and landholders. This policy-making body (The Trustees) provides broad overall direction and oversees and reviews strategies for management of Botany Bay. The Governor appoints Trustees on the recommendation of the Minister. Given the importance of Federal Government stakeholders in the Bay, it is important that the Federal Government agrees to be a party to the arrangement and to enable the appointment of a representative to the Trust.

    Full time employees of the Trust

    1. The model above shows four management positions: Finance manager, data/information/science manager, works program manager, and stakeholder manager. It may not be necessary, especially initially, to have these functions vested in different people. What is necessary is recognition of the different functions, the appointment of a full-time manager and supporting staff. When more than one manager is appointed, we recommend that rather than appointing a CEO to coordinate the various sections of the Trust, coordination is achieved through a management committee. The Stakeholder Manager is to Chair the management committee
    2. The Funds management function is responsible for raising funds for the operation of the Trust and for disbursal to program works, as directed by Trustees. Disbursal may be through grants, contracts carried out for specific works, or works carried out by employees of the Trust.
    3. Three managers work together in three separate but integrated functions. They work through committees and employees, to carry out programs. The Chair of the Science committee and the stakeholder committee must be a Trustee. The committees comprise:
      1. Science Committee: The function of this committee is to ensure that data about the Bay is centralised and accessible and that further studies are carried out about the impact of developments or changes as required. This committee should utilise scientists with interest in the Bay and rivers and other stakeholders who study the demographic and physical characteristics of the Bay catchment.
      2. Works Programs Section: This function has a dual role: First to monitor development in the Bay and rehabilitation or other works in the Bay in order to ensure that work has been carried out according to the directions of the Trust (that is, according to plans adopted by the Trustees); second to implement works that are not already the responsibility of other agencies within the Port. Part of the manager's responsibility will be to report progress on agrees works against targets to both stakeholders in general and to Trustees.
      3. Stakeholder Committee. The function of this committee is the same as that for Catchment Committees, highlighting issues in the catchment, recommending methods of dealing with the issues and working with the Trust to resolve them. Input from the stakeholder committee will be an important component of the input received for policy making by Trustees. The appointment to this committee would be along the lines as that stated in the Catchment Management Act and appointments would be made by the Minister as recommended by Trustees.

    3. A programs approach

    As we noted in our introduction, while we believe that an integrated structure for management of the catchment, such as a Trust, is the most appropriate model, we are aware that such a structure may take some years to establish. We do not believe that decision-making on improving the Botany Bay catchment environment should wait till the most appropriate management structure is put in place.

    Work in the catchment should begin immediately and we, as NGOs invite local governments and the scientific community to work with us to prepare a program of projects for the catchment..

    Much of the knowledge of what should occur in the catchment and much of the work currently being done in the catchment is through either local government of voluntary group initiatives. That is not to say that state government agencies are not carrying out works (such as the NPWS project regarding the RAMSAR site on Towra Point), but these are generally being carried out in conjunction with voluntary groups or with local councils. We believe that current initiatives can be better coordinated and focused.

    No doubt the report from the Botany Bay Program will greatly aid in providing the baseline data for a programs approach to solving Botany Bay catchment problems. We suggest that an elected committee from the NGO group, together with members of the scientific community and local government spearhead a works program.

    Ideally such a program should be based on the findings of a State of Environment Report for the catchment. If the Botany Bay Program does not sufficiently deliver the data for such an SOE, then one should be commissioned, with funding from interested parties (both local government and corporate sponsorship).

    4. Conclusion

    As we noted in our introduction, our model is one for the whole of the catchment of Botany Bay. We do not believe that a management regime for Botany Bay alone will be successful in managing the many issues influencing the bay.

    We have set an ambit claim for an integrated management structure of the Bay. This ambit has been deliberately set and recognises that in spite of goodwill on the part of many government agencies at all levels, problems in the Bay catchment continue to escalate.

    Social, economic and environmental issues cannot be considered in isolation. We believe that the current structure, which emphasises the jurisdictions of local, state and federal government, rather than the needs of environment and community, is failing. An integrated approach is required. Our model provides that integration.

    In addition, our model enables the participation of community stakeholders. The community has shown, through its participation in catchment management committees, and through its eager uptake of Landcare (now Heritage Trust) projects, that it is willing to be an active participant in catchment management. Our model provides the opportunity for participation. In addition, our model will not curtail the current operations of local, state and government agencies, but provides a forum in which their works can be considered in a holistic way.

    _________________________________________

    APPENDIX Trusts and the Catchment Management Act 1989

    Part 3 of the Catchment Management Act 1989 enables the Governor to establish a Catchment Management Trust upon the recommendation of the responsible Minister. Before making a proposal, the Minister must establish that:

    1. the degradation of natural resources within the area concerned is adversely affecting the community; and

    2. the land holders, land users and the community who utilise and derive benefit from those resources have a joint responsibility to deal with the degradation; and

    3. the formation of a Trust is the most appropriate means of achieving equitable cost sharing; and

    4. there is clear support by the land holders, land users and the community for the formation of a Trust.

    Trustees to be appointed by the Governor must include:

    1. land users or land holders within the Trust area (these must constitute the majority of the trustees)

    2. persons who have an interest in environmental matters

    3. persons from local government authorities

    4. persons who are officers of government department or authorities having responsibility for natural resource use or management within the Trust area

    The Trust is, in the exercise of its functions, subject to the control and direction of the responsible Minister. The Trust may:

    1. provide, construct, operate, manage and maintain works and buildings

    2. purchase, exchange, take on hire or lease, hold dispose of, manage, use or otherwise deal with real or personal property

    3. enter into contracts

    4. enter into cost-sharing or other arrangements

    5. generate revenue by levying and recovering catchment contributions

    6. provide assistance

    7. effect and maintain insurances

    8. do anything incidental to the achievement of the purpose for which it was established, and

    9. if the Minister so decides perform any or all of the functions of a Catchment Management Committee.

    Appendix 4 Healthy Rivers Commission Management Model

    (Source: Healthy Rivers Commission, 2000)

    Integrated Management Model for Botany Bay

    Graphic: Integrated Management Model for Botany Bay



    ABBREVIATIONS


     
    ABBREVIATIONS
    ABSAustralian Bureau of Statistics
    ACFAustralian Conservation Foundation
    ANZECCAustralian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council
    BBPBotany Bay Program
    CBDCentral business district
    CMCSCentre for Marine & Coastal Studies (UNSW)
    CMPCatchment management plan
    CMPPCoastal and marine planning process
    CoAGCouncil of Australian Governments
    CSIROCommonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
    CZMCoastal zone management
    DLGDepartment of Local Government, NSW
    DLWCDepartment of Land & Water Conservation, NSW
    DoTDepartment of Transport, NSW
    DPWSDepartment of Public Works & Services, NSW
    DSRDDepartment of State and Regional Development, NSW
    DUAPDepartment of Urban Affairs & Planning, NSW
    EAEnvironment Australia
    EISEnvironmental Impact Statement
    EPA ActEnvironmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979
    EPAEnvironment Protection Authority
    ESDEcologically sustainable development
    FM ActFisheries Management Act 1994
    GMRGreater metropolitan region
    HNCMTHawkesbury-Nepean Catchment Management Trust
    HRCHealthy Rivers Commission, NSW
    ICZMIntegrated coastal zone management
    IUCNWorld Conservation Union (formerly the International Union for the Conservation of Nature)
    LEPLocal environmental plan
    MACROCMacarthur Regional Organisation of Councils
    NCCNature Conservation Council
    NEPCNational Environment Protection Council
    NGONon-government organisation
    NHTNatural Heritage Trust
    NOONational Oceans Office
    NPWSNational Parks & Wildlife Service, NSW
    NVC ActNative Vegetation Conservation Act 1997
    OECDOrganisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
    OSHMOffice of the Sydney Harbour Manager
    POEO ActProtection of the Environment Operations Act 1997
    REPRegional environmental plan
    RTARoads & Traffic Authority, NSW
    SACLSydney Airports Corporation Ltd
    SCASydney Catchment Authority
    SEPPState environmental planning policy
    SMPStormwater management plan
    SoEState of the Environment report
    SPCSydney Ports Corporation
    SHCMBSydney Harbour Catchment Management Board
    SSCMBSouthern Sydney Catchment Management Board
    SSROCSouthern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils
    SWCSydney Water Corporation
    TAGTechnical Advisory Group
    TECTotal Environment Centre
    TCMTotal catchment management
    TSC ActThreatened Species Conservation Act 1995
    UNUnited Nations
    UNEPUnited Nations Environment Program
    UNESCOUnited Nations Environmental, Scientific and Cultural Organisations
    UNSWUniversity of New South Wales
    UPRCTUpper Parramatta River Catchment Trust
    US EPAUnited States Environment Protection Agency
    WSROCWestern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils

     

    ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

    The preparation of this document involved the cooperation and assistance of a great many individuals and organisations. Jim Colman (Manager, BBP) and Micaela Hopkins (Project Officer) gratefully acknowledge their support. Key sources include the following.

    Sydney consultations and support

    Interstate consultations

    International consultations


    Meta Data Record

    <TITLE>Turning the Tide</TITLE>
    <META NAME="DC.Title" CONTENT="Turning the Tide">
    <META NAME="DC.Creator" CONTENT="Jim Colman">
    <META NAME="DC.Type" CONTENT="text">
    <META NAME="DC.Date" CONTENT="2000">
    <META NAME="DC.Format" CONTENT="text/html">
    <META NAME="DC.Coverage" CONTENT="Botany Bay, Sydney">
    <META NAME="DC.Description" CONTENT="This Discussion Paper presents for public comment the results of the first 12 months of work on the Botany Bay Program (BBP), a federally-funded project of the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils. The project grew out of earlier community and governmental concerns about what was seen as a continuing decline in the environmental health of Botany Bay and its catchment. The aim of the BBP is to develop a framework for the integrated planning of Botany Bay catchment. The key word is integrated – taken to mean an approach to Bay planning which successfully draws together the various policies, resources and skills of all 'stakeholders' into an effective plan of management for the bay environment.">
    <META NAME="DC.Relation" CONTENT="A draft discussion paper on management challenges and options for the Botany Bay Catchment The Botany Bay Program Jim Colman July 2001 Prepared for the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC)">
    <META NAME="DC.Source" CONTENT="Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC)">
    <META NAME="DC.Subject" CONTENT="Water, rivers. land mangement">
    <META NAME="DC.Publisher" CONTENT="Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC)">
    <META NAME="DC.Publisher" CONTENT="Published Electronically on au.riversinfo.org by the Environmental Information Association (Incorporated) with the permission of Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC)">
    <META NAME="DC.Rights" CONTENT="Copyright (©) SSROC">
    <META NAME="DC.Identifier" CONTENT="'Turning the Tide, The Botany Bay Program Jim Colman July 2001, (SSROC)">
    <META NAME="DC.Identifier" CONTENT="http://au.riversinfo.org/library/2000/bbay">
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