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THE HEALTHY RIVERS COMMISSION: A NEW APPROACH TO INTEGRATED GOVERNANCE (Sub themes: Decentralisation and Water Basin Authorities)

IWRA World Water Congress 2003 Madrid Spain
IWRA WWC2003 - default topic
Author(s): Maria Penelope COMINO

Maria Penelope COMINO


Article:

Abstract

The Healthy Rivers Commission was established in March 1996, as an independent public inquiry body to identify and investigate critical issues and propose strategies for the management of each river system into which it has inquired. To date, it has conducted major inquiries into 8 catchments in the State of New South Wales, and the State's 90 coastal lake catchments. The Commission is unique in Australia in providing a public process for the development of catchment specific, whole of government strategies. The strategies are considered by the Cabinet, the full Ministerial body of the state, and in that way ultimately encompass whole of government decisions that set the key direction for the management of the catchment system. The decisions are recorded publicly in "Statements of Intent", are subject to community monitoring and formal audit by the Commission two years later. This paper considers how the Commission's processes provide a new approach for directing and promoting a system view of rivers and the critical success factors for integrating governance at the catchment level. It looks briefly at the recent proposals for administrative changes to natural resource management in the State, including the creation of a Natural Resources

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