This Strategy will not achieve its full potential unless adequate monitoring and review are undertaken. As indicated above, such processes are a tool for accountability as well as providing an essential opportunity to amend and adapt actions as issues are resolved, actions implemented, and organisations roles and responsibilities change. In this way a document such as this can maintain its relevance with the detail of actions progressively shaped to meet broad goals set down at the time of the documents preparation.
In order to meet this essential monitoring function, it was anticipated that biennial reviews of the Strategy would be conducted. Such review meetings of stakeholders were to be conducted in the first quarter of the calendar year with an initial meeting scheduled for November 2000. In this way coordination between funding parties would be conducted in the lead up to agency budget preparation.
In practice MCMCs Merri Creek and Environs Strategy Subcommittee undertook quarterly monitoring and review of actions, as there was more than could be dealt with in one biennial meeting. However, the 1999 strategy was submitted to Council meetings for approval by Councils and therefore has a higher level of authority and political support than changes made by the Subcommittee Council Officers representing Councils, but without the power to formally commit Councils to the actions.
Submitting a complete revised document for Council approval is no small task however. The 1997 strategy had a large number of A3 colour maps which were no longer available electronically. Also, with Councils, Melbourne Water and DSE all identified as the responsible agencies rather than MCMC the responsibility for an update was confused. So whilst the 1997 strategy was revised regularly, until this document no adopted reviewed version has been published.
Making MCMC accountable for submitting a biennial review of the document to participating agencies (only Councils at this stage) seems a clear way forward.
In terms of public monitoring of progress, the A3 colour maps in the 1999 document (which could not be made available electronically because of software changes at Melbourne Water) make hardcopy production of the 1999 Strategy expensive, and its availability therefore limited. In order to give the public more easy access to the revised Strategy and to achievement of actions in the document, investigation should be made into its publication as an interactive website.
1. Adequate, appropriate, efficient and cost effective monitoring of catchment assets, ecosystem processes, trends, risks, implementation of actions and outputs (Adapted from Regional Catchment Strategy objective MO1)
2. Timely, rigorous and cost effective evaluation of catchment management planning and implementation (See Regional Catchment Strategy objective MO2)
3. Timely, tailored, efficient and cost effective reporting on catchment assets, ecosystem processes, trends, risks, catchment management planning and implementation (See Regional Catchment Strategy objective MO3)
See Section E page 214.