To: Commonwealth Environmental Water Office.

Developing a Framework for Investing in Environmental Activities

Joint submission by Goulburn Valley Environmental Group and the Environmental Farmers Network

Made: 28 November 2017

Feedback questions


What sort of environmental activities, that compliment current or future Commonwealth water delivery, could be a focus for investment by the CEWH?

The supply of CEWH water to wetlands not serviced by accepted CHEW delivery methods.
This could be on private land and would most likely involve partnerships with community groups to manage the delivery of water and services.
Emphasis could be on refuge maintenance and protection of endangered species
Facilitating the protection of isolated ecosystems with innovative water delivery methods.

Are there any environmental activities that you think should not be eligible for investment by the CEWH?

GVEG & EFN have been concerned that funds obtained by the sale of CEWH water would be used as a substitution for current and future works that protect and enhance rivers and floodplains.
Works, and types of funded works proposed in the SDL adjustment process should be ineligible.
Only works that enhance the CEWH’s ability to genuinely connect rivers to floodplains should be considered, e.g. removal of built structures.

What criteria do you think should be used for assessing environmental activities?

*Environmental outcomes
*Value for money
*Social and economic outcomes, including Aboriginal
 * Partner organisations past delivery record
* Links to other programs and projects.
*Opportunity for large scale ecosystem outcomes.

What types of activities would be most appropriate for joint funding arrangements?

Protection and enhancement of wetlands has broader community support and has received corporate financial support. With many novel fundraising options becoming available and the need for carbon emission reductions many projects could be attractive to investors.

What types of in-kind contributions could support environmental activities?

There are groups and organisations involved in the Basin that have years of knowledge and experience in this field including databases, management, research and monitoring.
Many of these groups enjoy a high media profile and community support with-in the MD Basin and would more closely link the CEWH to on ground works and communities.
Landholders would in most cases welcome and co-operate with labour and monitoring of projects.  Linking farmers with science has the potential to improve understanding of Basin Plan objectives with-in the community.
Landholders have extensive experience in pumping and water delivery, experience that would complement and enhance CEWH delivery options.
Our aboriginal communities could have a more tangible involvement in the delivery of water, and address a serious shortfall with the implementation of the Basin Plan to date.
Landholders and NGOs hosting field days, education groups,

Are there other ‘delivery partners’ that the CEWH could consider?

Partnerships should be open to all able to fulfil  delivery criteria

Are there any other types of ‘partnership’ opportunities or investment approaches that could be considered by the CEWH?

Our organisations have been impressed with Murray Darling Wetlands Working Groups approach, its openness to partnerships and ability to work with landholders. They appear able to generate both wider investment in projects and critical landholder investment.

Are there practical ways that small groups or individuals could be supported to apply for funding?

Small groups or individuals often struggle to meet complicated application requirements of grants and projects.
Simple EOI’s are an excellent entry point for these often resource poor organisations.

By which methods (for example, one-off grants, procurement, and investment prospectus) do you think the CEWH should fund environmental activities?

Methods should be developed to maximise the opportunity for a wide range of diverse partnership delivery models.
Differing project proposals will dictate differing requirements.
From simple one off grants to detailed investment prospectus for complicated ongoing projects that include long term relationships.

Are there other relevant considerations or do you have any other feedback?

GVEG & EFN both supported the CEWH access to water markets during the development of the Basin Plan. This was based on the belief that through the market benefits could arise for both the environment and other water users. We believed that CEWH’s ability to buy and sell temporary entitlements would at times deliver the increased flows required at times the agreed Basin Plan fell short. We were and continue to be concerned at any prospect or opportunity for political interference in the decision making of the CEWH office, this more liberal role of the office, we believe increases this risk.

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