The SA Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) has responsibility for community consultation and communication activities in relation to the icon site.
The Lower Lakes, Coorong and Murray Mouth Icon Site Community Reference Committee was formed in 2006 and since that time has met four to six times per year to provide informed input to the planning and management of the Lower Lakes, Coorong and Murray Mouth icon site. As of March 2012, the former Community Reference Committee has been replaced by the Community Advisory Panel.
The Community Advisory Panel comprises representation from the Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority and from a range of key stakeholder groups including the SA Murray–Darling Basin Natural Resource Management Board, the Mallee and Coorong NRM Group, Coorong–Tatiara and Goolwa to Wellington Local Action Planning associations, irrigation and fishing industries, recreational boating and marina industries, regional development, conservation interests, and local government.
The Community Advisory Panel receives detailed briefings regarding every aspect of icon site management including planning, environmental watering, monitoring and investigations and implementation of a range of projects occurring through The Living Murray.
The Community Advisory Panel also provides advice and valuable input to other programs and projects associated with drought response actions and the Murray Futures Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth (CLLMM) Program. Staff from DEWNR support a joint approach as it facilitates cost savings, promotes collaboration across projects and limits ‘burn-out’ in key community members.
Feedback and advice is sought from the Community Advisory Panel about all key components of The Living Murray and other associated projects occurring within the icon site.
The recent long period of drought and the associated emergency responses along with the development of the CLLMM long-term plan has put a lot of pressure on the communities of the region requiring their involvement in a number of demanding and ongoing consultation processes. The need to ensure integration of consultation activities to maximise the effectiveness of engagement processes and minimise the impost on community members has been highlighted.
Briefings have been provided to the former Community Reference Committee regarding the update of the Icon Site Environmental Water Management Plan, its purpose and content and how it is being developed. A workshop session was held at which the details of the draft document were presented to the Community Reference Committee with a particular focus on:
• ecological objectives and the associated water requirements and water delivery
• monitoring and adaptive management and reporting.
Community Reference Committee members reviewed this Icon Site EWMP and were encouraged to share information to and provide feedback from their own community networks. The new Community Advisory Panel have also received a presentation on the new LLCMM Icon Site EWMP.
The LLCMM Icon Site Scientific Advisory Group was also provided with the draft Icon Site EWMP to provide comment and feedback. This group has provided important input into the development of the environmental water requirements for the site, particularly in relation to achieving the 16 icon site ecological targets.
The LLCMM icon site project team continue to undertake a range of communication and community engagement activities including:
• provision of program updates for community and other groups via presentations at meetings or input to newsletters
• input to local print media.
The development of the LLCMM Icon Site Environmental Water Management Plan and its ongoing implementation will be communicated via these networks to the wider community.
The Lower Lakes, Coorong and Murray Mouth Community Engagement and Communications Strategy (see Community Engagement and Communications Strategy) guides the ongoing engagement and communication for the icon site.
Key components of the strategy include ongoing support for the role undertaken by the Community Advisory Panel which includes:
• providing a forum for discussion, input and advice on the ongoing development and implementation of Lower Lakes, Coorong and Murray Mouth icon site planning
• acting as a sounding board regarding decisions relating to environmental flows, environmental watering actions and other icon site management actions; in the icon site
• providing a conduit for information and feedback regarding icon site management between icon site managers and Community Advisory Panel member networks
• reporting on community attitudes, issues and expectations and providing advice on actions and responses to address these
• providing specific advice and input into the review of the ongoing engagement and communications strategy and regarding how to effectively communicate and engage with the wider community.
Other icon site engagement and communication activities will include:
• regular email updates
• articles in regional newsletters and media
• inclusion of icon site information on relevant websites
• development and update of factsheets regarding icon site management
• convening technical and community based forums and workshops.
7. INDIGENOUS ENGAGEMENT
Aboriginal people have many social, cultural, customary and economic interests in the water resources of the River Murray.
The Living Murray aims to maximise ecological outcomes through the delivery of environmental water. However, TLM is committed to taking into account Indigenous values and objectives in its environmental water planning and management. As Indigenous communities identify objectives and strategies for achieving these Indigenous objectives they will be incorporated into EWMPs in the future. Indigenous consultation will be reported on in the Annual TLM Environmental Watering Report and Annual TLM Implementation Report.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Murray Lower Darling River Indigenous Nations (MLDRIN) and the Murray–Darling Basin Commission was signed in March 2006. The MOU provides for engagement with Traditional Owners at a strategic level along the length of the River Murray and across state boundaries, while being inclusive of formal jurisdictional arrangements.
In addition to the MOU input is also sought from Indigenous communities through the establishment of local Indigenous reference groups. Consultation takes an inclusive approach to ensure community knowledge, values and perspectives are considered.
The Aboriginal community, particularly Traditional Owners, have an important role to play in natural resource management.
The Lower Lakes, Coorong and Murray Mouth icon site lies within Ngarrindjeri country. The Ngarrindjeri have negotiated a Kungun Ngarrindjeri Yunnan agreement with the South Australian Government. It provides a framework for engagement between non-Indigenous (krinkari) and Ngarrindjeri programs – recognising the Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority as the peak Ngarrindjeri regional body. The Department for Water and the MDBA work with the Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority through the Kungun Ngarrindjeri Yunnun agreement and the associated Kungun Ngarrindjeri Yunnun Taskforce meeting process. The Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority has established a Ngarrindjeri Yarluwar-Ruwe Program to manage all projects and issues concerning Ngarrindjeri lands and waters. This program supports the Ngarrindjeri heritage program and includes representation from the Ngarrindjeri Native Title Management Committee, the Ngarrindjeri Tendi, the Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority’s Research, Policy and Planning Unit and the regional Working on Country programs. The Ngarrindjeri LLCMM Icon Site Indigenous Facilitator is a member of this program committee and derives support from its coordinated approach to Ngarrindjeri Caring for Country.
Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority input into the LLCMM Icon Site Environmental Water Management Plan has been facilitated through the Kungun Ngarrindjeri Yunnun Taskforce, the Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority Yarulwar- Ruwe Program and the Indigenous Faciliator. The Ngarrindjeri also provided input to the initial icon site plan, in particular with regard to ecological targets, management options and the provision of cultural knowledge on a range of issues.
The Living Murray Indigenous Facilitator services for the LLCMM icon site provide advice on, and support the implementation of, the responsibilities and actions outlined in The Living Murray Business Plan, The Living Murray Indigenous Partnerships Project Plan and the Icon Site Environmental Water Management Plan. This includes the ongoing implementation of protocols and processes that build effective partnerships between the Indigenous Nations people, responsible agencies and other interest groups. The MDBA has contracted DEWNR to manage and support the Indigenous Facilitator. The Indigenous Facilitator is part of a network of Indigenous Facilitators working on The Living Murray program.
The Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority is the peak indigenous body in the region, and the Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority Yarluwar-Ruwe Program acts as a reference group for the Indigenous Partnerships Program in the LLCMM. The Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority hosts the position of The Living Murray LLCMM Indigenous Facilitator.
Some of the key LLCMM Indigenous Facilitator services provided through the Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority include:
• representation and input at icon site Community Advisory Panel meetings
• provision of advice and assistance with heritage assessments required for on-ground works under the direction and control of the Ngarrindjeri Heritage Committee Inc, and with research or monitoring associated with The Living Murray Program
• support for provision of input and content around Indigenous perspectives and cultural outcomes in wetland management planning
• organisation of site visits with Aboriginal leadership, community and agency staff
• ensuring Aboriginal participation and assistance with TLM monitoring activities and establishment of monitoring at environmental watering sites
• representing the Lower Lakes, Coorong and Murray Mouth icon site at MLDRIN meetings and MDBA Indigenous forums including provision of presentations and reporting back to the Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority and the DEWNR regarding Indigenous projects occurring in other icon sites
• provision of advice on agreements/heritage process/ other Indigenous issues and input to the development of LLCMM icon site communications and engagement products and events.
The involvement of the Indigenous community is sought in icon site management and planning to ensure the aspirations, interests and contributions of Indigenous people are recognised during the development and implementation of icon site plans. The delivery of icon site Indigenous facilitation services through the Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority ensures and supports this involvement.
The LLCMM Icon Site EWMP will be implemented with ongoing input and advice from the Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority via its Kungun Ngarrindjeri Yunnan Taskforce and Yarluwar-Ruwe Program (Caring for Country).
Specific actions to provide information to the Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority regarding the development of the Icon Site Environmental Water Plan and its ongoing implementation include:
• presentations and discussion at Kungun Ngarrindjeri Yunnan Authority meetings
• site inspections with Aboriginal Elders and community members
• presentations at Ngarrindjeri Community meetings.