AMLR NRM Board 2016-17 Annual Report

Contents

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To: Minister Hunter, Minister for Sustainability Environment and Conservation

This annual report is presented to Parliament to meet the statutory reporting requirements of Natural Resources Management Act 2004 and meets the requirements of Premier and Cabinet Circular PC013 Annual Reporting. This report is verified to be accurate for the purposes of annual reporting to the Parliament of South Australia.

Submitted on behalf of the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board by:

Professor Chris Daniels, Presiding Member, Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board

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Section A: Reporting required under the Public Sector Act 2009, the Public Sector Regulations 2010 and the Public Finance and Audit Act 1987

Agency purpose or role

The Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board (the board) was established on 9 December 2004 under the provisions of the Natural Resources Management Act 2004. The board undertakes an active role in managing natural resources through the preparation and implementation of a regional NRM plan which is the principal document guiding the management of natural resources in the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Region.

The Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Plan was adopted by the Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservations on 6 April 2016, after taking into account and in accordance with the requirements of section 81 of the Natural Resources Management Act 2004.

The Plan provides a regional framework and guidance for everyone managing and deriving benefit from Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources as specified in Natural Resources Management Act 2004 (the Act).

The board promotes public awareness, understanding and opportunities for integrated and sustainable natural resources management and provides mechanisms to increase the capacity of people to improve their management of natural resources.

The board acts as the community interface, and has a role of encouraging the involvement of informed communities in Natural Resources Management.

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Objectives

The objectives of the board are to help achieve ecologically sustainable development in the State by contributing to the establishment of an integrated scheme to promote the use and management of natural resources in a manner that:

  • recognises and protects the intrinsic values of natural resources
  • seeks to protect biological diversity and, insofar as is reasonably practicable, to support and encourage the restoration or rehabilitation of ecological systems and processes that have been lost or degraded
  • provides for the protection and management of catchments and the sustainable use of land and water resources and, insofar as is reasonably practicable, seeks to enhance and restore or rehabilitate land and water resources that have been degraded
  • seeks to support sustainable primary and other economic production systems with particular reference to the value of agriculture and mining activities to the economy of the State
  • provides for the prevention or control of impacts caused by pest species of animals and plants that may have an adverse effect on the environment, primary production or the community
  • promotes educational initiatives and provides support resources mechanisms to increase the capacity of all people to be involved in the management of natural resources.

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Key strategies and their relationship to SA Government objectives

Key strategy
SA Government objective

Ensure ecological processes for life and livelihood: through

  • healthy seas, rivers and landscapes, and
  • well-functioning ecological processes that support life and livelihoods

Priority 1: Unlocking the full potential of SA’s resources, energy and renewable energy

Priority 2: Premium food and wine produced in our clean environment and exported to the world

Priority 4: The knowledge state – attracting a diverse student body and commercialising our research

Priority 7: South Australia – the best place to do business

Ensure communities are engaged and active: through

  • communities living within resources limits, and
  • informed and engaged communities actively protecting and restoring our natural resources
Read progress reports.

Priority 2: Premium food and wine produced in our clean environment and exported to the world

Priority 4: The knowledge state – attracting a diverse student body and commercialising our research

Priority 8: Adelaide, the heart of the vibrant state

Ensure amenity, culture and environment is valued: through

  • use and reuse of natural resources based upon environmental, economic, social and cultural values, and
  • iconic sites protected and new ones created

Priority 1: Unlocking the full potential of SA’s resources, energy and renewable energy

Priority 2: Premium food and wine produced in our clean environment and exported to the world

Priority 4: The knowledge state – attracting a diverse student body and commercialising our research

Priority 5: SA – a growing destination choice for international and domestic travellers

Ensure knowledgeable decisions and action partners: through ensuring

  • uncertainty is acknowledged and actions anticipate change, and
  • partners committed to working together to achieve natural resources outcomes.

Priority 1: Unlocking the full potential of SA’s resources, energy and renewable energy

Priority 2: Premium food and wine produced in our clean environment and exported to the world

Priority 4: The knowledge state – attracting a diverse student body and commercialising our research

Priority 6: Growth through innovation

Priority 9: Promoting South Australia’s international connections and engagement

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Agency programs and initiatives and their effectiveness and efficiency

Program name
Indicators of performance / effectiveness / efficiency
Comments

Climate Change

The board was a part-funder and the main NRM stakeholder in a regional, council-led climate adaptation planning process. Input to the following adaptation plans:

  • Resilient Hills and Coasts
  • AdaptWest
  • Resilient East
  • Adapting Northern Adelaide

As clearly articulated in key strategic SA Government documents (such as the 30 Year Plan for Greater Adelaide and South Australia’s Climate Change Strategy 2015 - 2050), adapting to the inevitable impacts of climate change on communities and on natural and built assets is an ongoing policy priority. The adaptation plans have spurred adaptation action and set the agenda for each region’s adaptation priorities well into the future, and have also informed state-wide priorities in this area through the formulation of the South Australian Government’s Climate Change Adaptation Response (Towards a Resilient State), currently in final draft stage.


Coastal saltmarsh carbon capture and habitat retreat.

The five year Samphire Coast Icon Project was completed, including on ground works and reintroduction of tidal flows to increase carbon storage potential

Coastal saltmarsh carbon capture studies confirm that locally and globally, these habitats provide some of the highest carbon storage values, and their conservation and importantly restoration can contribute significantly to overall carbon neutral targets.

Planning for and implementing actions for retreat of coastal saltmarsh habitat will allow for significant retention of carbon storage opportunities as well as mitigate significant habitat loss.

Tidal restoration of saltfield ponds will allow for stabilising potentially harmful sulfidic sediments and potentially increase the amount of food and feeding area available for migratory shorebirds.

Land management and change

Ensure co-investment from external sources that, at least, match board investment (including community, industry, local and Australian governments)

Across Land Management and Change in 2016‑17, external investment in the board projects more than matched board investment. The board invested ~$20M while external investment exceeded $32M.


Improve the long-term prospects of threatened and declining species and communities

The number of threatened and declining species being supported by recovery action continued to increase in 2016-17, with 150 threatened plants and animals now being supported (along with four threatened ecological communities). This equates to 23% of the threatened species in the region, so further work will be required to achieve this target in 2017‑18.


Improve the condition of priority biodiversity areas

The area of native ecosystems actively improved in 2016‑17 increased by a further 2,725 hectares, resulting in a cumulative achievement of 27,023 hectares. This equates to 25% of the area of existing native ecosystems in the region, so further work will be required to achieve this target in 2017‑18.


Reinstate ecosystems in priority locations to stem biodiversity declines

The area of native ecosystems constructed and managed in 2016‑17 increased by a further 2234 hectares, resulting in a cumulative achievement of 6199 hectares. As such, over half of the target has already been achieved, with further work required in 2017‑18.


Coastal Action Plan regional recommendations (where NRM is identified as a key player) being implemented and functional ecosystems (coastal, estuarine, terrestrial, riparian) increased within the region

Habitat condition monitoring indicates a number of positive condition changes from revegetation and weed control activities. Coastal restoration works improves coastal biodiversity and natural landscapes and assists local economies. Investment by NRM boards in restoration projects provide significant regional local employment. In the AMLR region, contracted coastal restoration on-ground works annually engage over 100 small to medium size businesses.


Halt the decline of seagrass, reef and other coast, estuarine and marine habitats and a trend towards restoration

The Adelaide metropolitan trial seagrass rehabilitation project has deployed 2500 bags within a new one hectare site. Three monitoring transects for this trial were also established. Long term investment in seagrass restoration will not only aid recovery of fisheries habitat, but also assist with management of coastal erosion. The work to date indicates that seagrass restoration is feasible.


Water sensitive urban design (WSUD) – enhancing the liveability of our cities

In 2016-17 the board contributed $800,000 towards improving the region’s capacity in WSUD. This assisted in generating $6,210,000 in co-investment from the board’s partners. Investing partners included local and state government, as well as industry. Projects ranged through on-ground civil works, industry training and policy creation.

Returning environmental flows to the rivers of the western Mount Lofty Ranges

Since 2011 the board has led the co-design of returning environmental flows into Western Mount Lofty Ranges rivers, following on from national water management reforms and in line with the state’s adoption of sustainable water management principles and environmental protection. The board works closely with SA Water to ensure water security and environmental goals are achieved.


Rehabilitating our urban rivers and creeks

Numerous projects completed with the support of local government. Projects range from the River Torrens through urban Adelaide to the sea, and tributaries of smaller creek systems in Adelaide’s peri-urban southern suburbs. This assisted in generating $85,030 in co-investment from the board’s partners. Investing partners include local government.

Economic impacts

Five stormwater management plans (SMPs) have been recommended to the Stormwater Management Authority by the board for approval

Approved SMPs identify actions which will reduce the economic and social impacts of flooding, create additional fit-for-purpose stormwater for use in industry and urban applications, and reduce social, environmental and economic impacts of stormwater discharging to waterways and the coast. This assisted in generating $12,240 in co-investment from the board’s partners. Investing partners included local government.


Stormwater quality control devices capture silt and debris from urban and semi-rural catchments. Removal of sediment and gross pollutants from stormwater helps to protect the marine environment and the industries that rely on it

Over 4450 tonnes of gross pollutants were removed from watercourses across Adelaide by the board’s GPTs in 2016-17 (953 tonnes from the River Torrens catchment and 3379 tonnes from the Patawalonga catchment). Without GPTs, pollutants would remain in urban waterways or discharge to the coast and further threaten water quality and aquatic ecosystems.

Knowledge and capacity

Participation in natural resources management programs is helping to build the capacity of individual landholders, which should result in better land management in the region

Three new projects were supported by two additional industry groups in continued support to develop and implement management systems that improve sustainable land management practices

There were 1790 people actively participating in Natural Resources Management programs such as landscapes, seascapes, NRM Education, community group action, and urban sustainability during 2016‑17.

Supporting industry groups to implement programs with their industries achieves NRM outcomes across each industry, potentially reaching a greater number of people than working with individuals.

Planning and improvement

Local level planning to use systems-thinking and resilience principles to give action to the regional NRM Plan

The planning framework ensures that the levy is spent where it can achieve the greatest outcome for natural resources management. The understanding of issues and the identification of issues is undertaken with stakeholders in the region.

See the region’s 2016-17 achievement report.

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Legislation administered by the agency

Natural Resources Management Act 2004.

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Organisation of the agency

Section 25 of the NRM Act provides for the appointment of the board.

The board comprises of nine members appointed by the Governor on the recommendation of the Minister. Each of the appointed members of the board is a person who in the opinion of the Minister meets the requirements of section 25(4) of the NRM Act. View profiles of current board members.

In 2016-17, the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Region has 9697 volunteers who support the region in a number of different way, some which are tree plantings, caring for wetlands, conservation of reptile and frog species and much more.

The region also supports eight community run natural resource centres which helps the community to build capacity for positive action towards sustainable natural resource management from a grassroots basis.

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Sub-committees of the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges NRM Board

  • Barossa Water Allocation Planning Advisory Committee
  • Northern Adelaide Water Allocation Planning Advisory Committee
  • Central Adelaide Water Allocation Planning Advisory Committee
  • Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges NRM Audit Finance and Risk Committee

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Meetings of the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges NRM Board: general and special

A total of 11 general board meetings were held during the 2016–17 financial year and no special board meetings were held during this period. The below table illustrates attendance by appointed board members at meetings.

Member
Meetings attended
Comments

Chris Daniels

11

 

Rob Lewis

10

Other commitment/s

Russell Johnstone

10

Other commitment/s

Alexandra Kentish

11


Karl Telfer

0

Other commitment/s (resigned 8 March 2017)

Mark Searle

8

Other commitment/s

Rachael Siddall

9

Other commitment/s

Joanna Andrew

2

Other commitment/s (resigned 23 February 2017)

Belinda Bramley

8

Other commitment/s

Andrew Grear

1

Other commitment/s (resigned 30 July 2016)

Julia Grant

7

Other commitment/s

James Crocker

8

Other commitment/s

Peter Pfennig

7

Other commitment/s

Trevor Bennett

8

Other commitment/s

Allison Bretones

6

Other commitment/s

Greg Cock

0

Deputy member

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Other agencies related to this agency (within the Minister’s area/s of responsibility)

  • Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources
  • Alinytjara Wilurara Natural Resources Management Board
  • Eyre Peninsula Natural Resources Management Board
  • Kangaroo Island Natural Resources Management Board
  • Northern and Yorke Natural Resources Management Board
  • South Australian Arid Lands Natural Resources Management Board
  • South Australian Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resources Management Board
  • South East Natural Resources Management Board
  • Environment Protection Authority
  • SA Water

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Employment opportunity programs

The board does not employ staff. Those staff who undertake the work of the board are employed through the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources in accordance with a service level agreement) under ministerial direction (dated 16 April 2012).

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Agency performance management and development systems

Performance management and development system
Assessment of effectiveness and efficiency

Service Level Agreement

Not assessed during this reporting period.

Australian Government Performance Framework

The board received a positive assessment in the self-assessment phase of the Australian Government’s Performance Framework review. No issues had been raised in this phase.

Board Presiding Member one on one with board members

The Presiding Member held one on one conversations with each board member and agency representative during this reporting period.

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Occupational health, safety and rehabilitation programs of the agency and their effectiveness

Occupational health, safety and rehabilitation programs
Effectiveness

The board operates in accordance with the relevant safety policies and procedures that have been developed by DEWNR to meet whole of Government and legislative requirements

Reporting on compliance with the relevant safety policies and procedures forms part of the DEWNR Annual Report 2016-17.

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Fraud detected in the agency

Category/nature of fraud
Number of instances

There were no instances of fraud detected in the activities undertaken by the board in this reporting period.

0

Strategies implemented to control and prevent fraud

Financial services are provided to the board by the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR). Strategies to detect instances of fraud are reported in the DEWNR annual report 2016-17.

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Whistle-blowers’ disclosure

Category/nature of disclosure
Number of instances

Number of occasions on which public interest information has been disclosed to a responsible officer of the agency under the Whistle-blowers’ Protection Act 1993

0

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Executive employment in the agency

Executive classification
Number of executives

SAES

0

The board does not employ staff. Those staff who undertake the work of the board are employed through the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources in accordance with a service level agreement.

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Consultants

The board did not engage any consultations in this reporting period.

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Financial performance of the agency

The following is a brief summary of the overall financial position of the agency. The information is unaudited. Full audited financial statements for 2016-17 are attached to this report.

The board’s funding comes from NRM Land Levy, NRM Water Levy, State Government, Australian Government, private industry and community grants. The board received an income of $34,159,000 and expended $35,685,000 for a net result of ($1,526,000) this financial year.

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Other financial information

Under Section 42(5) of the NRM Act, financial assistance can be made to third parties such as community groups, industry, state and local government, land owners and individuals for various projects and programs under the Regional NRM Plan. During 2016‑17, the board provided $9,878,543 in grants to the following:

  • $2,662,379 to local government
  • $197,803 to industry groups
  • $194,427 to land owners
  • $468,664 to schools and universities
  • $2,808,068 to DEWNR
  • $187,918 to State Government agencies
  • $3,359,284 to volunteer groups and NGOs

Some examples of financial assistance include:

Volunteer Support

  • Support for weed control for habitat protection and enhancement of remnant vegetation. Investment includes supplying tools and equipment to volunteers, herbicide supply and the provision of contractor services e.g. weed spraying
  • Support for revegetation, rehabilitation and buffering of remnant veg for habitat. Investment includes supplying tubestock, soil and seed to volunteers for propagation, tree guards and stakes.
  • Coordinating and delivering training to build individual and volunteer groups capacity to increase their knowledge, enable them to undertake work more effectively and skilfully and ensure they are working safely.
  • Facilitate recognition for volunteer group milestones and deliver volunteer celebration events
  • Funding to enable external partners to deliver programs undertake NRM works in cooperation with volunteers e.g. Trees For Life (Bush For Life program) and Goanna Watch (Citizen Science)

NRM Action Grants

  • Community round: funded 33 projects. Projects include shellfish restoration trial in the Port River, a series public talks on NRM issues at the Adelaide Farmers Market, threatened species protection, engaging the public in green spaces and NRM, delivering Living Smart course at Gawler, use of technology in monitoring animal nesting boxes, cultural learning workshops, restoration projects and the development of resources to raise awareness of NRM issues.
  • School round: funded 59 projects. Projects include butterfly and sensory gardens, outdoor classrooms, Kaurna community garden, sustainable food production, bush food gardens, compost and recycling systems, revegetation, frog pond and biodiversity gardens.

Sustainable Agriculture Industry Support

  • Improved sustainable land management practices were awarded grants based on their capacity to demonstrate the best value for money and delivery of agricultural and environmental benefits. Example projects include: Stage 2 of the Pinery soil recovery after fire, soil moisture monitoring project with the Barossa Improved Grazing Group, Horse SA’s Horses, People, Landcare project and the continuation of the Fleurieu Forward Farming project.

Data for 2016-17 is available at: data.sa.gov.au/data/dataset/adelaide-and-mount-lofty-ranges-nrm-board-annual-report-data

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Other information requested by the Minister(s) or other significant issues affecting the agency or reporting pertaining to independent functions

Statement of fact for significant ministerial directives

In accordance with s10(5) of the Natural Resources Management Act 2004 (the NRM Act), the board advises that no ministerial directives were received during this reporting period.

Statement of fact for significant functions assigned by the Minister

The Minister did not assign to the board any significant functions in accordance with section 29 of the NRM Act.

Statement of fact for functions or powers delegated to the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges NRM Board

The Minister did not assign to the board any significant additional functions or powers under the NRM Act or any other act in accordance with regulation 9e of the NRM (General) Regulations 2005.

Statement of fact for functions or powers delegated by the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges NRM Board

The board operates pursuant to the provisions in, and functions and powers delegated under, the NRM Act.

The board has delegated appropriate procurement, finance and contracting powers to relevant members of DEWNR staff assigned to work on board programs in accordance with regulation 9d of the NRM (General) Regulations 2005 and s36 of the NRM Act. This enables assigned staff to undertake operational board business.

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Section B: Reporting required under any other act or regulation

Development Regulations 2008

12—Activities that would otherwise require a permit under the Natural Resources Management Act 2004

  1. Development comprising or including an activity for which a permit would be required under section 127(3)(d) or (5)(a) of the Natural Resources Management Act 2004 if it were not for the operation of section 129(1)(e) of that Act (on the basis that the referral required by virtue of this item operates in conjunction with section 129(1)(e) of that Act), other than development within a River Murray Protection Area under the River Murray Act 2003.

The board received no mandatory development assessment referrals during this reporting period.

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Appendix: Audited financial statements 2016-17

The audited financial statements 2016-17 can be found in the 2016-17 Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges NRM Board’s annual report.

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Natural Resources Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges