Environment needs funds
Recently I attended a meeting to discuss ways to secure on-going funding to support the Protecting the Wilderness Coast Project, a highly effective and economical local initiative running for a decade. I represented volunteer group Bermagui Dune Care, and thanks to this project, rather than spending our limited time constantly weeding sea spurge from local beaches as we once did, we take on revegetation work at sites such as Cuttagee Headland.
The project involves project officer Stuart Cameron twice yearly leading members of each of the three local Aboriginal Land Councils, as they walk the length of Bega Valley Shire Council coast, and more recently the Eurobodalla coast north to Narooma, removing weeds and litter.
The project has resulted in a tremendous reduction in weeds and garbage, yet receives very few accolades from the community. The tourism industry promotes the attractions of our “pristine” coastline, but how many people know why it is in such excellent condition. Funding is an ongoing problem, despite the very real benefits accruing from the project, and there is a very real likelihood it will lapse mid 2018.
Council, Local Land Services, National Parks and Wildlife Service and Eurobodalla Shire Council all contribute funding, with the rest coming from a seven year grant from the NSW Environmental Trust, overseen by the Far South Coast Landcare Association. There is no on-going certainty about the project funding, and it is probable the NSW Environmental Trust funding, which has been vital, will end mid 2018.
Without this support our beaches will soon again be degraded with sea spurge, bitou, daisies and a myriad of other weeds. Garbage would soon become problematic.
Just as roads, health and education services receive recurring funding so should environmental stewardship, rather than its present funding model which is only fitful and discontinuous. If the NSW government can find millions of dollars to build sports stadiums with their recent windfall, then why can’t the environment benefit too?
Karen Joynes, Bermagui Dune Care
Vision and planning
Your front page article by Denise Dion (MNW 13/9/17) is very timely and thought-provoking. The comments attributed to Michael Britten also point to a systemic challenge faced by all organisations, not just local government. Everyone and every organisation can, from time to time, develop a vision of what they want to achieve and leap, often without due diligence, into favoured action planning mode.
The proper and time-honoured process involves (1) identifying the challenge, (2) considering your vision of what might beneficially be sought, (3) analysing all the variables and related issues, and (4) then generating options to achieve (3) in light of all the impact issues identified in the analysis phase. Organisations both corporate and government historically and generally drive quickly towards outcomes without necessarily considering issues for analysis and then summarising achievable options.
Our experience locally is no different to that of federal and state authorities, whether it be dealing with hard issues of infrastructure development or softer, longer-term issues of tweaking social policy.
Strangely enough, the overall process chain is well understood and documented - and even practised on some occasions - but history shows us that vision often "trumps" sensible thinking and analysis, so we do things without thinking them through. Britten has made a strong point about the tension between vision, analysis, strategic planning all seen against the framework of check-and-balances that seemingly defeat, rather than facilitate, reaching the goals.
As an experienced practitioner, author and teacher in this complex field, I am working towards soon conducting workshops on this topic possibly through local U3A for all people and organisations interested.