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Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Strategy

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Regional Catchment Strategy 2013-2019

Strategic objective: To adapt to land-use changes

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What this will mean:  Opportunities for improving the environment are captured as land ownership changes, enterprises change and land management changes.

Land-use changes continue across the Catchment, including changes from irrigated to dryland farming, from low intensity to high intensity production, from large farms to small lifestyle properties and clearing of native vegetation for infrastructure expansion. These changes will continue in response to short and long-term pressures.

Short-term pressures include events such as drought, fire, flood and the global financial crisis. Long-term pressures include ageing farmers and increasing competition for land and other resources, both within the farm sector and between the farm sector, and other parts of the economy, including between farming and lifestyle land use.

Ongoing population growth and migration into and within the Catchment will continue to drive demand for land resources to meet urban housing and lifestyle living needs, which also requires expanded infrastructure such as transport and communication networks. Strategic planning efforts, such as the Hume Regional Growth Plan, address this change. Local government is also developing planning schemes in recognition of the change and agencies such as Goulburn Valley Water are responding appropriately.

The large current and anticipated investment in irrigation infrastructure (see under "To adapt to water policy reform") presents significant risks and opportunities as land is redeveloped across broad areas to align with changing water use.

Non-traditional productive land-uses and practices are also emerging as we adapt to future shortages of non-renewable energy resources and fertilisers. Opportunities include carbon sequestration activities and energy production via biofuels and wind farms. The Catchment will also continue to be explored for energy and mineral reserves.

The challenge continues to be how to best balance environmental, social and economic needs in the face of ongoing land-use change, a priority for this RCS (Table 5).

Table 5.  Whole-of-Catchment scale priorities to adapt to land-use changes

 

Context

Management measure

The significant challenge of balancing environmental, social and economic needs in the face of short and long-term land-use change pressures continues. Research, investment and planning in new land uses are also needed so that natural assets are impacted positively as economic and social benefits are captured.

Strategic priority: Capture opportunities from land development

The approach varies significantly across the Catchment. Refer to management measures listed in SES sections of Chapter three.

Sensitive management of land-use changes is needed to minimise the impact of flooding on built environments, including infrastructure, and to maximise benefits of flooding on natural assets.

Strategic priority: Plan for and manage floods

Provide floodplain decisions and advice in land-use planning

Understand more about the nature of flooding to manage its impact on natural and built environments