Healthy Waterways and Catchments
A new era for the management of South East Queensland’s land and waterways has been formally announced, with the official formation of Healthy Waterways and Catchments. This new entity combines not-for-profit organisations Healthy Waterways and SEQ Catchments, whose members officially voted in the change on 28 June 2016.
Healthy Waterways and Catchments has been formed as a community-focused and science-based waterway and natural asset management organisation which will improve the coordination and implementation of best practice catchment management.
As the two organisations continue to transition, a thorough strategic planning and branding process will be undertaken for Healthy Waterways and Catchments. In the meantime, both organisations will continue to operate under their existing brands.
The Frequently Asked Questions below have been updated to keep all stakeholders informed throughout the transition. We will continue to communicate progress as the information becomes available.
If you wish to discuss any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us:
Chief Executive Officer
Frequently Asked Questions
June 2016 Update
1. When will the new organisation be formed?
Owner representatives of Healthy Waterways and SEQ Catchments officially signed off on all the necessary resolutions required to create Healthy Waterways and Catchments at a special general meeting on 28 June 2016.
The operations of Healthy Waterways and SEQ Catchments will continue for a number of months until ongoing contracts, programs and transitional arrangements are finalised. This includes a thorough strategic planning and branding process which will be undertaken for Healthy Waterways and Catchments. In the meantime, both organisations will continue to operate under their existing brands.
2. What will the governance structure look like?
A seven member interim board has been established to guide the organisation during its first year. The boards of Healthy Waterways and SEQ Catchments have appointed three interim board members each:
- Stephen Robertson
- Dale Smart
- Anne Jones
- Victor Attwood
- Mayor Karen Williams
- Bardhold Blecken.
A seventh member will soon be appointed by the interim board.
3. What are the benefits of Healthy Waterways and Catchments?
Not-for-profit organisations Healthy Waterways and SEQ Catchments have joined together to form a leading-edge waterway and natural asset management organisation Healthy Waterways and Catchments. This unique community-focused and science-based organisation will:
- improve the coordination and implementation of best practice catchment management through the integration and application of leading science research and effective partnerships
- maximise environmental and community benefits through the integration of on-ground action with trusted independent science and knowledge
- influence and inform future regional planning, policy, action and science
- remain relevant and true to our stakeholders, the environment and community
- drive new and unique investment opportunities, reduce competition for limited government funding and attract ongoing funding and support.
Healthy Waterways and Catchments will increase the value provided to our stakeholders through:
- a defined and demonstrable role in catchment management
- increased ability to undertake and support informed action with and for our stakeholders
- cost efficiencies by removing overlapping responsibilities and duplications in administrative, corporate services, stakeholder liaison and project delivery functions
- leverage of expertise, skills and resources
- improved community engagement and partnership opportunities
- a more coordinated and streamlined approach to project delivery
- a greater resilience to changing funding environments
- a continuing commitment to scientific excellence.
May 2016 Update
1. What will the new organisation be called?
The Implementation Working Group, which was selected by the Boards of both organisations, has recommended ‘Healthy Waterways and Catchments’ as the name of the new organisation.
This name contains elements of both existing organisations, and recognises the important role that both have played in preserving our region’s natural assets.
It is expected that the Board of the new entity will want to develop both a branding strategy and new strategic plan.
2. What will be the focus on the new organisation?
The establishment of Healthy Waterways and Catchments provides a unique opportunity for the coordination of catchment management in SEQ.
It will remain focused on reducing the pressures and impacts that activities across our catchments have on our natural assets and the many social and economic benefits they underpin. It will continue to focus on the important interdependencies between the health of our terrestrial ecosystems and our waterways and coastal ecosystems.
The organisation will also continue to deliver on stakeholder priorities as a primary focus and provide independent and authoritative science.
3. What will be the ownership structure of the new organisation?
The Implementation Working Group has recommended a model that maintains ownership for all existing stakeholders.
It has recommended that joint ownership be held between the Council of Mayors (SEQ), South East Queensland’s water and energy utilities and the Members Association (currently known as the SEQ Catchments Members Association).
Both organisations will work closely with their respective owners to ensure the transition of ownership is as smooth as possible.
4. Who will be able to appoint Directors Healthy Waterways and Catchment’s Board?
For the first year, it is recommended that an interim board guide the activities of the new organisation. This interim board will be selected jointly by Healthy Waterways’ and SEQ Catchments’ boards, in consultation with its stakeholders.
At the 2017 Annual General Meeting, Healthy Waterways and Catchments owners - the Council of Mayors (SEQ), a representative of the utilities and the Members’ Association – will appoint a new board.
The Council of Mayors (SEQ) and the utilities will appoint one board member each, The Members Association will appoint two board members, with the final three board members to be appointed by the board, including independent directors.
5. Will there be changes to leadership?
The search for a CEO to lead Healthy Waterways and Catchments is currently underway via executive search. We are unsure at this stage how long the recruitment process will take but we will keep our stakeholders informed.
6. How will the new entity be funded?
The new entity will need to be capable of responding to the new environment where traditional sources of funding for environmental and NRM activity have been reducing and new and innovative approaches required.
As a result, a new funding model has been established, which builds upon the continued provision of services and delivery. This funding model will consist of a Subscription Membership which will provide members with access to an expanded range of services, and traditional grants and fee-for-service contracts.
Subscription membership will be similar to the current Healthy Waterways funding approach to the delivery of the Monitoring Program, and other essential programs and services.
February 2016 Update
1. Why are Healthy Waterways and SEQ Catchments forming a new organisation?
In an external environment where securing funding is becoming increasingly difficult, establishing one organisation will allow us to leverage more from what is available to achieve the best outcomes, both for South East Queensland’s waterways and natural assets, as well as our members and the community. Importantly, both organisations deal with the same stakeholders seeking water and landscape outcomes and coming together makes sense.
While each organisation has a clear focus and different areas of expertise, there are many complimentary and common areas of services and activities to achieve healthy waterways and healthy catchments.
Combining our expertise and resources will add value and strengthen our efforts in understanding, communicating and managing natural assets and waterways, and enhance the delivery of on-ground outcomes.
2. What are the benefits of Healthy Waterways and SEQ Catchments forming a single entity?
A single entity will enhance our focus and delivery on outcomes, and facilitate a coordinated and holistic approach to the many water and natural asset challenges facing the region now and into the future.
By coming together, we will strengthen our position to deliver and support stakeholder expectations, including the Resilient Rivers Initiative.
Together we have the capacity to leverage our combined expertise, particularly in measuring and improving waterway health and terrestrial and coastal expertise, and applying this to other areas of natural asset monitoring and delivery
The new entity will have the capacity to engage with, and mobilise over 50,000 volunteers in South East Queensland to inform, support and deliver demonstrable community change and on-ground outcomes.
3. What is the vision, purpose and focus of the new organisation?
The purpose of Healthy Waterways and Catchments is “Providing the preeminent services in SEQ for understanding and communicating about waterways and the natural assets that support them, and for connecting science, community and management to influence and deliver on-ground outcomes that address risks and secure SEQ’s waterways and natural assets”.
Healthy Waterways and Catchments will focus on all of the region’s natural assets, with waterway and catchment health remaining key priorities. The organisation will continue to deliver on stakeholder priorities as a primary focus and provide independent and authoritative science.
4. Will the new organisation be a Regional NRM body?
Yes. It will carry on the commitments that SEQ Catchments has in this regard.
5. Will the new organisation be a not-for-profit, charitable organisation?
Yes. Healthy Waterways and Catchments will be a non-government, non-statutory entity with the governance structure to be agreed over the coming months.
6. How will this affect the current day-to-day operations at the two companies?
There will be minimal impact on the day-to-day operations during the transition,. Both organisations will continue to operate on a ‘business as usual’ basis, with continued projects and service delivery for our members for the 2015/16 financial year. As the structure for Healthy Waterways and Catchments becomes established, we will begin to integrate activities in areas that will help grow the combined entity.
7. Will any existing programs / projects / services be affected?
Existing contracts, projects and services will continue to operate while the two organisations transition on a business as usual basis.
Once Healthy Waterways and Catchments is in place new contracts will be with Healthy Waterways and Catchments and it will be decided if and when existing contracts are better moved to the new entity or work themselves out in the existing entity's name.
8. Will the services provided to HWL members/owners change?
Healthy Waterways’ Member priorities will remain a key focus of the new organisation. We intend that the joining of resources and expertise will offer exciting opportunities and provide additional value to all stakeholders.
9. Who was consulted in the decision for Healthy Waterways and SEQ Catchments to become one organisation?
Both Boards discussed the matter widely with their owners and members and other stakeholders were also instrumental in supporting the decision.
All stakeholders are very aware of the changes to the NRM environment and especially the changes to the amount and requirements of funding partners. Both organisations have been working for some time to build a portfolio of activities and expertise that generates revenue from new funding partners, as well as striving to ensure that existing stakeholders are aware of the value that the entities provide.
10. Who is leading the establishment of Healthy Waterways and Catchments?
A small Working Group, selected by the Boards of both organisations, has been established to develop and build a transition plan to form Healthy Waterways and Catchments.
The Working Group met for the first time on 27 January 2016 and continues to meet fortnightly.
11. When will there be more information available?
Both Healthy Waterways and SEQ Catchments will continue to work closely with our clients and members throughout this process. We will provide stakeholders and the broader public (where appropriate) with timeframes and further details as they become available
12. Will the community have strategic input into Healthy Waterways and Catchments comparable to what they have today?
13. How will Healthy Waterways and Catchments ensure that the focus will remain on water quality if it is now a bigger organisation with much wider responsibilities?
Water Quality is an important matter to both organisations at present so we do not see any reduction in its focus.
We all know how important it is to understand the interdependencies between landscape and terrestrial ecosystem health and the health of both our waterways and coastal ecosystems and this will continue to be the focus of the new organisation going forward.