AMLR NRM Board 2018-19 Annual Report

Contents 

 

Hon. David Speirs
Minister for Environment and Water

Dear Minister

In accordance with the requirements of section 38 of the Natural Resources Management Act 2004, I now present to you the Annual Report of the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board for the year ended 30 June 2019.

Yours sincerely
Felicity-ann Lewis
PRESIDING MEMBER
Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board

26 November 2019

From the Presiding Member

I am very pleased to present the 2018-19 Annual Report of the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board.

This report provides an annual review of the operations of the board in delivering its 2014-24 Regional Natural Resources Management Plan. In line with this, the report is also an important accountability tool, providing transparency over the expenditure of funding from the Natural Resources Management Levy. It also provides an important information source for the community to discover the work of the board and the many stakeholders who also work to protect the region’s natural resources.

The Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges is a region of great diversity, ranging from highly developed urban and farming land to remnant bushland, coastal dunes and marine habitats.

In March 2019, after substantial public consultation, the South Australian Government introduced the Landscape SA Bill to Parliament. The Bill foreshadows significant changes to natural resources management state wide. In anticipation of the passage of the Bill, the board has commenced preparatory work for a transition to a new NRM framework focused on vibrant biodiversity, a sustainable economy and resilient communities. This will become evident in the board’s next Annual Report for 2019-20.

Sustainable land management is an economic and environmental priority, with agriculture in the region contributing around 20 percent of the state’s total primary production. Through a combination of industry sector partnerships, grants to incorporated groups and training opportunities, the board continues to support the region’s primary producers in adopting more sustainable production practices.

During the year, the board also worked to improve the long-term prospects of threatened and declining species through activities such as weed control, fire management and native revegetation. This included further work on the reintroduction of the Yellowish Sedge-skipper butterfly in coastal areas, and continuation of the paddock trees project where new plantings across 1000 hectares will provide improved habitat for woodland bird species.

Partnerships between the board and local government and non-government organisations provided a foundation for efforts to further improve water quality in the region’s terrestrial and coastal environments. The board also provided support for water sustainability and green infrastructure initiatives to create cooler, greener suburbs and to improve coastal water quality.

Finally, the board understands its success is underpinned by the many volunteers and community members who also work to protect and improve the region’s natural resources. In keeping with this principle, the board continued its engagement with, and support for, volunteer ‘friends’ groups as well as nine community-run natural resource centres that are hubs for the community to learn and take action on environmental and sustainability issues.

Felicity-ann Lewis
Presiding Member
Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board 

Overview: about the agency 

Our strategic focus 

Our purpose 

The Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board (the board) was established on 9 December 2004 under the provisions of the Natural Resources Management Act 2004. The board undertakes an active role in managing natural resources through the preparation and implementation of a regional NRM plan which is the principal document guiding the management of natural resources in the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges (AMLR) Region. 

The board promotes public awareness, understanding and opportunities for integrated and sustainable natural resources management and provides mechanisms to increase the capacity of people to improve their management of natural resources.

The board acts as the community interface, and has a role of encouraging the involvement of informed communities in natural resources management.

Our vision  Our vision for the region is 'a healthy living landscape meeting the social, environmental, economic and cultural needs of the community, and ensuring the rights and wellbeing of future generations'.
Our objectives

The objectives of the board are to help achieve ecologically sustainable development in the State by contributing to the establishment of an integrated scheme to promote the use and management of natural resources in a manner that:

  • recognises and protects the intrinsic values of natural resources
  • seeks to protect biological diversity and, insofar as is reasonably practicable, to support and encourage the restoration or rehabilitation of ecological systems and processes that have been lost or degraded
  • provides for the protection and management of catchments and the sustainable use of land and water resources and, insofar as is reasonably practicable, seeks to enhance and restore or rehabilitate land and water resources that have been degraded
  • seeks to support sustainable primary and other economic production systems with particular reference to the value of agriculture and mining activities to the economy of the State
  • provides for the prevention or control of impacts caused by pest species of animals and plants that may have an adverse effect on the environment, primary production or the community
  • promotes educational initiatives and provides support mechanisms to increase the capacity of all people to be involved in the management of natural resources.

 Our organisational structure 

Section 25 of the NRM Act provides for the appointment of the board. 

The board comprises of nine members appointed by the Minister for Environment and Water. Each of the appointed members of the board is a person who in the opinion of the Minister meets the requirements of section 25(4) of the NRM Act. Refer here for profiles on current board members.

In 2018-19, the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges NRM Board had 5978 volunteers who contributed over 185,000 hours of support to the board to conserve, maintain and expand our natural resources. On-ground outputs included controlling pest plants, revegetation, installation of fencing, caring for wetlands, and much more.

The board supports eight community run natural resource centres which helps the community to build capacity for positive action towards sustainable natural resource management from a grassroots basis.

Sub-committees of the board

Barossa Water Allocation Planning Advisory Committee 

Northern Adelaide Water Allocation Planning Advisory Committee

Central Adelaide Water Allocation Planning Advisory Committee

Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges NRM Audit Finance and Risk Committee

Meetings of the board: general and special

A total of 11 general board meetings were held during the 2018–19 financial year and no special board meetings were held during this period. The below table illustrates attendance by appointed board members at meetings.

Member Meetings attended  Comments
 

Felicity-ann Lewis

9  

Presiding member (appointed 1 July 2018)

Other commitment/s

 

David Greenhough

3  

Other commitment/s (appointed 5 April 2019)

 

Robert Lewis

3  

Other commitment/s (term ended 20 October 2018)

 

Russell Johnstone

8  

Other commitment/s (term ended 13 April 2019)

 

Alexandra Kentish

9  

Other commitment/s

 

Rachael Siddall

9  

Other commitment/s 

 

Allan Sumner

 

Other commitment/s (resigned 27 September 2018)

 

Trudi Meakins

4  

Other commitment/s (resigned 18 January 2019)

 

Alison Cusack

11  

Other commitment/s

 

Vicki-Jo Russell

7 Other commitment/s (term ended 13 April 2019)

Jeffrey Newchurch

Other commitment/s (appointed 14 April 2019) 

Changes to the agency 

During 2018-19 there were no changes to the agency’s structure and objectives as a result of internal reviews or machinery of government changes.

Our Executive team 

The board does not employ staff. Those staff who undertake the work of the board are employed through the Department for Environment and Water in accordance with a service level agreement.

 

The Office of the Commissioner of Public Sector Employment has a data dashboard for further information on the breakdown of executive gender, salary and tenure by agency.

Legislation administered by the agency

Natural Resources Management Act 2004

Other related agencies (within the Minister’s area/s of responsibility)

Department for Environment and Water 

Alinytjara Wilurara Natural Resources Management Board

Eyre Peninsula Natural Resources Management Board

Kangaroo Island Natural Resources Management Board

Northern and Yorke Natural Resources Management Board

South Australian Arid Lands Natural Resources Management Board

South Australian Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resources Management Board

South East Natural Resources Management Board

Environment Protection Authority

SA Water 

The agency's performance 

Performance at a glance

The board implements a Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting and Improvement Plan (MERI Plan) which is integral to the success of its ten year Strategic Natural Resources Management Plan. It ensures outcomes of investment and new information are incorporated into the understanding of how natural resource systems operate in the region and provides information on indicators of achievement via long term targets (regional targets) and short term targets (intermediate targets).

Intermediate targets are considered annually, and help the board connect project outputs to short-term outcomes and progress towards the longer-term regional targets. The performance reporting provided here is based on the annual intermediate target reporting. Further information on this can be found on here, where the reports are uploaded annually in the second quarter of the financial year.

Board contribution to whole of government objectives

Key objective Board contribution

Vibrant biodiversity

Improve the long-term prospects of threatened and declining species and communities

Support land managers to protect and improve the condition of land, water and ecosystems 

Sustainable economy

Support sustainable production

Promote healthy soil management

Resilient communities 

Support volunteers and community-run natural resource centres

Increase the knowledge and capacity of natural resources managers 

School and community education

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Board objectives and performance 

Board objectives Indicators Performance 

Improve the long-term prospects of threatened and declining species and communities

 
Reduce extinction risk for threatened or declining species

For 2018-19 the threatened species program has undertaken works to improve habitat quality and/or habitat quantity and/or reproductive outputs for two threatened ecological communities; five threatened animals; and 17 threatened plants. This has been achieved through a combination of controlling access (30 ha); site preparation (228 ha); weed control; (34 ha); fire management actions (3.5 ha); habitat augmentation (2.375 ha); revegetation (180 ha), 15,150 tubestock planted, 31 seed collection days and 73 plant propagation days).

Species re-introduction has also occurred, for example the Yellowish Sedge-skipper Butterfly in coastal areas in the board’s region.

Paddock trees were planted across 1000 ha of production landscapes to provide habitat for woodland bird species.

 

Support land managers to protect and improve the condition of land, water and ecosystems

Land managed for water quality improvement

Existing ecosystems managed

Construct new ecosystems

 
For 2018-19, 140 ha of riparian on-ground improvement works was undertaken for purposes of water quality improvement.

Our investment and also with partnerships across various NGOs and councils achieved 2223 ha of work (weed control as one example) within existing ecosystems – both terrestrial and coastal - to improve their condition. Habitat reconstruction of 268 ha was also achieved for the 2018-19 year.

In 2018-19 the board invested $900,000 (which leveraged a further $1,130,000) into water sustainability and green infrastructure projects to create cooler greener suburbs and improve the water quality flowing into the Gulf St Vincent, in particular by, in-stream trash racks and other devices removing 2491 tonnes of debris and sediment from waterways.

Support sustainable primary production
Partner with primary production groups on innovative sustainable projects

Eight project partnerships were formed in 2018-19. Some of these projects include: partnership with the SA Murray-Darling Basin NRM Board and the CSIRO to undertake a virtual fencing trial with beef cattle; a perpetual horse-keeping calendar of timely land management advice with Horse SA; beneficial insects booklet developed for viticulturists was drafted to help with managing pests in vineyards; and a new partnership with AUSVEG to deliver soil masterclasses in the Northern Adelaide Plains for horticulturalists on soil acidity and health challenges.

Promote healthy soil management

Knowledge and capacity on soil health increased

The Combating Soil Acidity project established baselines via a survey of non-commercial/semi-commercial landholders on their awareness and understanding of soil acidity and its management. A capacity building program was delivered which included delivery of two field days and a workshop for landholders on soil acidity and management, and demonstration of variable rate mapping by Precision Agriculture. A soil sampling program for landholders has also been designed and commenced with 20 samples completed and recommendations provided to landholders.

Support volunteers and community-run natural resource centres

Natural resource centres in their operation

 

Support to volunteer groups 

$656,722 in grant funding has been provided to nine community-run natural resource centres. These centres provide a hub for the community, including volunteers, to receive information and a meeting place for capacity building events to occur. In 2018-19, 2401 people attended events delivered by the centres on topics such as species identification, waste reduction and upcycling, revegetation and habitat restoration, and water-sensitive gardening.

109 volunteer groups were supported in 2018-19 in a number of ways such as: equipment provision; group insurance cover; and training events to enhance volunteer hands-on and WHS aptitude. An annual celebration event was held for volunteers with 140 people attending. 

Increase the knowledge and capacity of natural resources managers

Number of work plans developed with the community

Number of grantees

Number of people who attended a knowledge and skills focussed event

Number of people who received a property visit

Proportion of the participants of the boards capacity building programs who later show a behaviour change 


In 2018-19, across all the capacity building focussed programs within the board:

  • 84 people had a work plan developed
  • 118 grantees received money for NRM action within the region
  • 5789 people attended a knowledge skills and abilities event with defined learning outcomes for improved NRM management (e.g. fencing and weed control workshops)
  • 1576 people received a property visit where positive behaviour change is encouraged (compliance visits for example)
  • 68% of people engaging in the board’s capacity building programs exhibit desired NRM behaviours following their interaction with the board.

School and community education

Number of schools assisted

Number of teachers involved in NRM professional development

Number of education resources developed

In 2018-19 there were 157 schools assisted through 222 events which included NRM Education staff engaging 90 schools through 130 visits (involving 313 staff and 1977 students). 

There were nine school cluster events with four of those pertaining to the Youth Environment Council program delivery. Ten new education resources were developed and three community talks delivered along with attendance by NRM Education staff at two field days attended by over 4000 members of the public.  

Corporate performance summary

Corporate performance reporting is the responsibility of the Department for Environment and Water as those services are provided to the boards by the Department for Environment and Water in accordance with a service level agreement under Ministerial direction (dated 16 April 2012).

Employment opportunity programs

The board does not employ staff. Those staff who undertake the work of the board are employed through the Department for Environment and Water in accordance with a service level agreement under Ministerial direction (dated 16 April 2012).

Program name      Performance     
Nil  Nil 

Agency performance management and development systems

The board does not employ staff. Those staff who undertake the work of the board are employed, performance managed and developed through the Department for Environment and Water in accordance with a service level agreement under ministerial direction (dated 16 April 2012).

Performance management and development system 

Performance

Nil Nil 

Work health, safety and return to work programs 

The board does not employ staff. Those staff who undertake the work of the board are subject to the work health and safety systems and return to work programs as administered through the Department for Environment and Water in accordance with a service level agreement under ministerial direction (dated 16 April 2012).

Program name Performance 
Nil Nil 


 

Workplace injury claims

 2018-19  2017-18  % Change (+ / -) 

Total new workplace injury claims

0

Fatalities

0

Seriously injured workers* 

Significant injuries (where lost time exceeds a working week, expressed as frequency rate per 1000 FTE)

 *number of claimants assessed during the reporting period as having a whole person impairment of 30% or more under the Return to Work Act 2014 (Part 2 Division 5)

 

Work health and safety regulations

2018-19  2017-18  % Change (+ / -) 
 

Number of notifiable incidents (Work Health and Safety Act 2012, Part 3)

 0

Number of provisional improvement, improvement and prohibition notices (Work Health and Safety Act 2012, Sections 90, 191 and 195)

 0

 

 

Return to work costs**

2018-19  2017-18  % Change (+ / -) 
 

Total gross workers compensation expenditure ($)

 0  0
 

Income support payments – gross ($)

 0  0

 0

**before third party recovery

Data for previous years is available at: Nil

Executive employment in the agency

Executive classification 

Number of executives 

 SAES  0

The board does not employ staff. Those staff who undertake the work of the board are employed through the Department for Environment and Water in accordance with a service level agreement. 

Data for previous years is available at: Nil

The Office of the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment has a workforce information page that provides further information on the breakdown of executive gender, salary and tenure by agency.

Financial performance

Financial performance at a glance

The following is a brief summary of the overall financial position of the agency. The information is unaudited. Full audited financial statements for 2018-19 are in the pdf of this report.

The board’s funding comes from the NRM land and NRM water levies, State Government, local government, Australian Government, public industry and community grants.

The board received total income of $34,947,000 and expended $33,783,000 with a net result of $1,164,000 this financial year. 

Statement of comprehensive income 

2018-19 actual

$000s 

2017-18 actual

$000s

Variation

$000s 

Expenses

33,783

34,288 

(505)

Revenues

34,857 

33,653 

1204

Net cost of providing services

1074

(635)

1709

Net revenue from SA Government

90

608

(518)

Net result

1164

(27)

1191

Total comprehensive result

1164

(27)

1191 

 

Statement of financial position 

2018-19 actual

$000s

2017-18 actual

$000s 

Variation

$000s

Current assets

12,658

10,108

2550

Non-current assets

6277

6728

(451)

Total assets

18,935

16,836

2099

Current liabilities

2524

1589

935

Non-current liabilities

0 0

Total liabilities

2524

1589

935

Net assets

16,411

15,247 

1164

Equity 

16,411

15,247

1164

Consultants disclosure

The following is a summary of external consultants that have been engaged by the agency, the nature of work undertaken, and the actual payments made for the work undertaken during the financial year.

The board did not engage any consultants in this reporting period. 

Consultancies with a contract value below $10,000 each

Consultancies  

Purpose 

$ Actual payment 

All consultancies below $10,000 each - combined

 Nil

Consultancies with a contract value above $10,000 each 

None

The details of South Australian Government-awarded contracts for goods, services, and works are displayed on the SA Tenders and Contracts website. View the agency list of contracts.

The website also provides details of across government contracts.

Other financial information   

Under Section 42(5) of the NRM Act, financial assistance can be made to third parties such as community groups, industry, state and local government, land owners and individuals for various projects and programs under the Regional NRM Plan. During 2018‑19, the board provided $9,078,051 in grants and other financial assistance to the following:

  • Land owners - $99,674
  • Volunteer groups and NGOs - $3,145,103
  • Industry groups - $100 618
  • Schools and universities - $196,293
  • Aboriginal nations - $120,000
  • Local government - $2,537,231
  • Department for Environment and Water - $2,809,132
  • State government agencies - $70,000

Some examples of financial assistance include:

Volunteer support

Supports 109 volunteer groups across the AMLR region with:

  • Support for weed control for habitat protection and enhancement of remnant vegetation. This includes supplying tools and equipment to volunteers, herbicide supply and the provision of contractor services to control over 833.2 ha of pest plants (e.g. weed spraying).
  • Support for revegetation, rehabilitation and buffering of remnant vegetation for habitat. Investment includes supplying tubestock (over 8470 tubestock), soil and seed to volunteers for propagation, repairs to fencing, tree guards and stakes.
  • Coordination and delivery of 37 training sessions to increase volunteer skills, knowledge and capacity to enable them to undertake activities safely and more effectively.
  • Organisation of the annual volunteer celebration event to recognise volunteer efforts and increase retention - 140 volunteers attended these events across the region, representing 40 groups. This also included the recognition of key milestones for groups and individuals.
  • Coordination of community planting events across the region with investment in the hire of facilities and provision of supplies and equipment.
  • Delivery of an e-newsletter, about volunteering activities and people in the region, with a subscription list of nearly a thousand members.
  • An additional 93 groups were provided with insurance cover under the department’s independent community group’s insurance scheme.
  • Funding to enable external partners to deliver programs to undertake NRM works in cooperation with volunteers, for example, Trees For Life’s Bush For Life program.

NRM Action Grants

Funded 23 projects across the region including site restoration, a sustainable living festival, citizen science projects and establishing a community nursery.

Funded 58 NRM School Environment Grants projects with a diversity of projects supported, including: butterfly and bush tucker gardens, creating frog habitats, establishing a sustainability summit, as well as waste management and recycling initiatives.

Supporting Sustainable Primary Production

Incorporated agricultural and horticultural groups were awarded grants based on their capacity to demonstrate the best value for money and delivery of production and environmental benefits, leading to the adoption of best practice within their respective industry. Example projects include:

  • A new partnership was established in 2018-19 with AUSVEG, the peak industry body for the Australian vegetable and potato industries, through the “Soils in Action” project run by AUSVEG SA on the Northern Adelaide Plains. The project included a demonstration trial to evaluate the benefits of compost use across field and greenhouse production systems.
  • “Ongoing Soil Moisture Monitoring and Communication Activities in Barossa Grazing Systems” with the Barossa Improved Grazing Group delivered three case studies discussing producer's use of weather station data in decision making and a survey to determine the use and application of BIGG’s weather station data by members. A new telemetry station was also installed at Moculta in a native pasture paddock to provide comparable data for improved pasture paddocks as well as extend the network coverage.
  • The Adelaide Hills Wine Region “Biodiversity and Land Improvement Engagement Project: Protect, Regenerate, Grow, Communicate” produced a series of extension and engagement tools, including videos encourage uptake of further biodiversity-enhancing activities which will have appeal beyond the wine region, and reach both consumers and the broader Australian wine industry.

Department for Environment and Water

Adelaide Living Beaches Strategy, funded through direction by the Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation for the period of 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2032.  

Data for 2018-19 is available here.

Other information requested by the Minister(s) or other significant issues affecting the agency or reporting pertaining to independent functions

Statement of fact for significant ministerial directives In accordance with s10(5) of the Natural Resources Management Act 2004 (NRM Act), the board advises that no Ministerial directives were received during this reporting period, however, previously issued Ministerial directives remain in effect.

Statement of fact for significant functions assigned by the Minister 

The Minister did not assign to the board any significant functions in accordance with section 29 of the NRM Act. 

Statement of fact for functions or powers delegated to the board 

The Minister did not assign to the board any significant additional functions or powers under the NRM Act or any other act in accordance with regulation 9e of the NRM (General) Regulations 2005.

Statement of fact for functions or powers delegated by the board 

The board operates pursuant to the provisions in, and functions and powers delegated under the NRM Act. 

The board has delegated appropriate procurement, finance and contracting powers to relevant members of DEW staff assigned to work on board programs in accordance with regulation 9d of the NRM (General) Regulations 2005 and s36 of the NRM Act. This enables assigned staff to undertake operational board business.

Risk management

Risk and audit at a glance

Fraud detected in the agency

Category/nature of fraud 

Number of instances 

There were no instances of fraud detected in the activities undertaken by the board in this reporting period

0

NB: Fraud reported includes actual and reasonably suspected incidents of fraud

Strategies implemented to control and prevent fraud

Financial services are provided to the board by the Department for Environment and Water (DEW). Strategies to detect instances of fraud are reported in the DEW Annual Report 2018-19.

Data for previous years is available at: Nil

Whistle-blowers disclosure

Number of occasions on which public interest information has been disclosed to a responsible officer of the agency under the Whistleblowers Protection Act 1993:

None

Data for previous years is available at: Nil

Reporting required under any other Act or Regulation

Act or Regulation Requirement 
Development Regulations 2008

12—Activities that would otherwise require a permit under the Natural Resources Management Act 2004

(1) Development comprising or including an activity for which a permit would be required under section 127(3)(d) or (5)(a) of the Natural Resources Management Act 2004 if it were not for the operation of section 129(1)(e) of that Act (on the basis that the referral required by virtue of this item operates in conjunction with section 129(1)(e) of that Act), other than development within a River Murray Protection Area under the River Murray Act 2003.

 

The board received one mandatory development assessment referral during this reporting period. 

Reporting required under the Carers’ Recognition Act 2005

The Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board is not a required ‘reporting agency’, and all staff who undertake the work of the board, are employed through a service level agreement with the Department for Environment and Water (DEW).

DEW has a strong commitment and provides support to ensure all employees who provide ongoing care for a person who has a disability or a chronic illness (including mental illness) or who is frail, has flexible working arrangements to meet their situation. 

Employees are encouraged to speak with their manager to seek support with flexible working arrangements including special leave with pay, compressed weeks, part-time hours or working from home. Employees can also seek support and guidance through the Health and Wellbeing Program, which incorporates the Employee Assistance Program. 

Public complaints 

Number of public complaints reported

Nil

Any complaints specifically related to NRM boards are documented in the Department for Environment and Water Annual Report.  

Appendix: Audited financial statements 2018-19 

The audited financial statements 2018-19 can be found in this pdf version of the annual report.