AMLR NRM Board 2017-18 Annual Report

Contents

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To: David Speirs MP, Minister for Environment and Water

This annual report is to be 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:

Dr Felicity-ann Lewis, Presiding Member

29 November 2018

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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 (AMLR) region.

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 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
  • well-functioning ecological processes that support life and livelihoods

To ensure a clean and healthy environment and to protect our environment for a sustainable future.

Ensure sustainably productive landscapes are available. 

Ensure communities are engaged and active: through

  • communities living within resources limits
  • informed and engaged communities actively protecting and restoring our natural resources

Read progress reports.

To engage with the youth of South Australia and provide them with a voice in key environmental issues facing South Australia through providing students with the skills, knowledge and support to take real action on issues in their communities to achieve a more environmentally sustainable future.

To engage with the community, including our volunteers, on the protection and restoration of our natural resources.

Ensure amenity, culture and environment is valued: through

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

Ensure a clean and healthy environment is available for South Australia’s future by protecting our landscapes and waterways.

Ensure knowledgeable decisions and action partners: through ensuring

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

Using the support of science and transparent decision-making to make the most appropriate investment decision.

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Agency programs and initiatives and their effectiveness and efficiency

Program name
Indicators of performance / effectiveness / efficiency
Outcome for South Australia

Sustainable land

Land condition for primary production improved by 15%. Performance outcomes include:

  • Supported the Pinery fire recovery with a third plant give-away of 18,000 plants for ~141 landholders.
  • Ensuring our soils are looked after for healthy livestock and yield benefits.
  • Riparian restoration on grazing property to enhance the environment and water quality in the Bungala catchment.
  • Bilingual information pack produced for Vietnamese farmers on water use, efficiency and licencing.
  • Fencing and restoration works at Waitpinga to protect cliffs and a steep creek line.
  • Nine grants provided to Agricultural industry groups to work on projects to improve both natural resources and agricultural sustainability.

Supporting the needs of agriculture and the environment.

Supporting the economic sustainability of primary production.

Biodiversity

Extent of functional ecosystems, (coastal, estuarine, terrestrial, riparian) increased to 30% of the region (excluding urban areas). Performance outcomes include:

  • 2744 ha of habitat protected and improved across 450 properties.
  • Volunteers supported whilst they worked on Trees For Life’s Bush For Life program and Nature Conservation Society SA’s Threatened Plan Action Group.
  • 1854 ha of habitat worked on through the Volunteer Support Program.
  • Protection measures have successfully support recovery of 33 threatened plants.
  • Recovery of threatened species, increase the number of species to 153 actively supported within the AMLR region.

Safeguarding nature into the future.

Condition and function of ecosystems (terrestrial, riparian) recovered from current levels.

Improvement in conservation prospects of native species (terrestrial, aquatic, and marine). 

Coast and marine

Ensuring our marine and coastal environments continue to support our many species unique to southern Australia. Performance outcomes include: 

  • Coastal conservation work undertaken on 62 priorities sites with pest plant and pest animal control, and revegetation.
  • Undertake weed control and revegetation at several estuaries.
  • Improved water quality and greater use by resident and migrant shorebirds at Dry Creek saltfields tidal restoration project.
  • Continued the support of long-term seagrass restoration work with SA Research and Development Institute with good headway and growth at trial sites.
  • Increased participation in natural resources management activities by 20%.

Protecting our coastal, estuarine and marine ecosystems.

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

All coast, estuarine and marine water resources meet water quality guidelines to protect defined environmental values.

Land-based impacts on coastal, estuarine and marine processes are reduced.

Communities

Inspiring the community to preserve our natural resources. Performance outcomes include: 

  • Increased participation in natural resources management activities by 20%.
  • 65 NRM action grants funded through community and school projects including livestock technology, butterfly and bush tucker gardens created and a bird hide established.
  • Supported seven workshops and events to key stakeholders around built sustainability.
  • Delivered, with 10 local governments, nine Living Smart courses.
  • Supported seven regional and one Adelaide community-run natural resource centres, help residents tackle environmental issues and be more sustainable in their homes, backyard and beyond.

Providing the community a voice in the NRM decision making.

Water management

Assist in the State’s system capacity to harvest up to 35 GL of stormwater and 50GL of wastewater per annum.

Assist in maintaining aquatic ecosystems and groundwater condition.

Woody Weed removal to improve fish movement, reduce organic load and potential downstream regrowth, improve water quality and habitat for aquatic fauna at various locations.

Work with our local government partners.

Support Water Sensitive Urban Design through funding projects including:

  • heat mapping
  • vegetated swales and infiltration basins to reduce stormwater runoff
  • permeable pavers to reduce stormwater runoff and installation of tree net inlets
  • wetland area exploration and design.

Protecting water quality, and increasing treated stormwater and wastewater use.

NRM education

Working with schools and preschool communities to embed sustainability principles into their learning and management practices. Performance outcomes include: 

  • Professional development delivered to 821 staff, 121 students and 54 community members on topics including creating learning programs in national parks, along with an Obesity Prevention and Lifestyle garden.
  • 426 students from 96 schools advanced through specialist leadership programs.

Assisted students, educators and community members to embed sustainability into schools and preschools, linking to the Australian Curriculum.

Planning and evaluation

Providing direction and monitoring the effectiveness of natural resources programs. Performance outcomes include: 

  • 86% of landholders, we have worked with, plan to continue NRM activities on their property.
  • Undertaken a catchment-scale low flow trial in Carrickalinga with 24 landholders who manage licenced dams and watercourse diversions as part of implementation of the Western Mount Lofty Ranges Water Allocation Plan.

All water resources used within sustainable yield.

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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 Minister for Environment and Water. 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 2017-18, the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Board has 3848 volunteers who have contributed over 180,000 hours of support to the board to conserve, maintain and expand our natural resources. On-ground outputs included controlling pest plants, revegetation, installation of fencing, caring for wetlands, and much more.

The board 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.

Sub-committees of the 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

Meetings of the board: general and special

A total of 11 general board meetings were held during the 2017–18 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

9

Other commitment/s

Robert Lewis

10

Other commitment/s

Russell Johnstone

10

Other commitment/s

Alexandra Kentish

11

 

Mark Searle

6

Other commitment/s (term concluded 13 April 18)

Rachael Siddall

8

Other commitment/s

Belinda Bramley

5

Other commitment/s (resigned 4 December 17)

Allan Sumner

5

Other commitment/s (term commenced 4 September 17)

Judith Meakins

7

Other commitment/s (term commenced 4 September 17)

Alison Cusack

3

(term commenced 14 April 18)

Vicki-Jo Russell

3

(term commenced 14 April 18)

Julia Grant

8

Other commitment/s

James Crocker

9

Other commitment/s

Peter Pfennig

10

Other commitment/s

Trevor Bennett

0

Other commitment/s (new member appointed-August 17)

Daniel Casement

5

Other commitment/s (agency membership commenced August 17)

Tamara Rohrlach

2

PIRSA deputy member

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

  • Department for Environment and Water
  • 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 for Environment and Water 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

Self -assessment for period 2016-17 completed on time by October 2017. AMLR response to each of the self-assessment criteria satisfactorily demonstrated to the Australian Government that AMLR met all 20 of the expected practices spanning the five performance expectations.

Board Presiding Member one on one with board members

The Presiding Member held one on one conversations with all board members and agency representatives during this reporting period.

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Work health, safety and return to work programs of the agency and their effectiveness

Program name and brief description
Effectiveness

The board operates in accordance with the relevant safety policies and procedures adopted on 26 October 2017.

There have been no incidents recorded.

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Work health, safety and return to work performance

Workplace injury claims

  2017-18 2016-17 % change (+/-)

Total new workplace injury claims

0

0

0

Fatalities

0

0

0

Seriously injured workers*

0

0

0

Significant injuries (where lost time exceeds a working week, expressed as frequency rate per 1000 FTE)

0

0

0

Work health and safety regulation

  2017-18 2016-17 % change (+/-)

Number of notifiable incidents (WHS Act 2012, 
Part 3)

0

0

0

Number of provisional improvement, improvement and prohibition notices (WHS Act 2012 Sections 90, 191 and 195)

0

0

0

Return to work costs**

  2017-18 2016-17 % change (+/-)

Total gross workers compensation expenditure ($)

0

0

0

Income support payments – gross ($)

0

0

0

*number of claimants assessed during the reporting period as having a whole person impairment of 30% or more under the Return to Work Act 2014 (Part 2 Division 5)
**before third party recovery

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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

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Strategies implemented to control and prevent fraud

Financial services are provided to the board by the Department for Environment and Water (DEW). Strategies to detect instances of fraud are reported in the DEW annual report 2017-18.

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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 for Environment and Water in accordance with a service level agreement.

The Office of the Commissioner of Public Sector Employment has a data dashboard for further information on the breakdown of executive gender, salary and tenure by agency.

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Consultants

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

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Contractors

The following is a summary of external contractors with a total contract value of greater than $33,000 (including GST) that have been engaged by the agency, the nature of work undertaken and the actual total cost of the work undertaken during the year.

In addition to the below, numerous other contracts were entered into by the board for less than $33,000 (Including GST), these have not been disclosed due to the number of contracts and immaterial values.

Contractor

Purpose

Value

Water Technology

Alternative water demand integration and optimisation

$ 30,572

JBA Pacific Scientists

Patawalonga flood forecasting tool

$ 14,197

Organica Engineering

Water Sensitive SA priority project 3 and priority project 4 – WSUD guideline and online stormwater

$ 12,538

Mechanical Vegetation Solutions

Cleaning and maintenance of AMLR Water Management Services assets

$ 595,541

Water Technology

Alternative water demand integration and optimisation

$ 30,572

Kreative Wisdom

Water Sensitive SA 2018-19 communications and events services

$ 7,830

Mellissa Bradley Consulting

Water Sensitive SA 2018-19

$ 29,412

The details of all South Australian Government-awarded contracts for goods, services, and works are displayed on the SA Tenders and Contracts website.

The website also provides details of across government contracts.

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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 2017-18 are attached to this report.

The board’s funding comes from the NRM land and NRM water levies, State Government, Australian Government, public industry and community grants.

The board received total income of $34,288,000 and expended $34,261,000 with a net result of ($27,000) 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 2017‑18, the board provided $8,376,383 in grants and other financial assistance to the following:

  • Industry groups - $256,630
  • Land owners - $98,794
  • Local government - $2,343,266
  • Schools and universities - $260,685
  • State Government agencies - $147,221
  • Department for Environment and Water - $2,721,100
  • Volunteer groups and NGOs - $2,443,461
  • Aboriginal Nations - $105,226

Some examples of financial assistance include:

Volunteer Support

  • Supports 105 volunteer groups across the AMLR region with:
    • Support for weed control for habitat protection and enhancement of remnant vegetation. This includes supplying tools and equipment to volunteers, herbicide supply and the provision of contractor services to control over 560ha of pest plants (e.g. weed spraying).
    • Support for revegetation, rehabilitation and buffering of remnant vegetation for habitat. Investment includes supplying tubestock (over 6,400 tubestock), soil and seed to volunteers for propagation, repairs to exclosure fencing, tree guards and stakes.
    • Coordination and delivery of 29 training sessions to increase volunteer skills, knowledge and capacity to enable them to undertake activities safely and more effectively.
    • Organisation of 3 annual volunteer celebration events to recognise volunteer efforts and increase retention - 187 volunteers attended these events across the region, representing 55 groups. This also included the recognition of key milestones for groups and individuals.
    • Coordination of community planting events across the region with investment in the hire of facilities and provision of supplies and equipment.
    • Funding to enable external partners to deliver programs undertake NRM works in cooperation with volunteers, for example Trees For Life’s Bush For Life program.

NRM Action Grants

  • Funded 24 projects across the region including site restoration, community events, citizen science projects and livestock technology.
  • Funded 41 NRM School Action Grants projects with a diversity of projects supported, including: butterfly and bush tucker gardens, creating frog habitats, a bird hide, as well as zero waste and recycling initiatives.
  • Provided a grant to Trees For Life to roll out their ‘Stepping Stones into Nature’ proposal, which focuses on connecting new arrivals/refugees to nature in the Port Adelaide Enfield area.

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 via the South Australian Agricultural Bureaux, pest and disease management on the Northern Adelaide Plains (HortEx),
    • continuation of benchmarking cherry production with Cherry Growers of South Australia
    • the incorporation of the Fleurieu Forward Farming Group was completed (becoming “Fleurieu Farming Systems Inc).

Department for Environment and Water

  • Adelaide Living Beaches Strategy, funded through direction by the Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation for the period of 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2032.

Data for 2017-18 is available.

Data for 2016-17 is available.

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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 (NRM Act), the board advises that no ministerial directives were received during this reporting period, however previously issued ministerial directives remain in effect. 

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 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 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 DEW 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.

Reporting required under the Carers’ Recognition Act 2005

The Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board is not a required ‘reporting agency’, and all staff who undertake the work of the board, are employed through a service level agreement with the Department for Environment and Water (DEW).

DEW has a strong commitment and provides support to ensure all employees who provide ongoing care for a person who has a disability or a chronic illness (including mental illness) or who is frail have flexible working arrangements to meet their situation.

Employees are encouraged to speak with their manager to seek support with flexible working arrangements including special leave with pay, compressed weeks, part-time hours or working from home. Employees can also seek support and guidance through the Health and Wellbeing Program, which incorporates the Employee Assistance Program.

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Section C: Reporting of public complaints as requested by the Ombudsman

Summary of complaints by subject 

The board did not receive any complaints within this reporting period.

Complaint outcomes

As the board did not receive any complaints within this reporting period, there are no outcomes to be reported.

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Appendix: Audited financial statements 2017-18

The audited financial statements 2017-18 can be found in the pdf version of the 2017-18 Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges NRM Board’s annual report.

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Natural Resources Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges