Under the Parliamentary Committees Act 2003, the Committee is responsible for conducting follow up inquiries on selected audits conducted by the Victorian Auditor-General.
Follow up inquiries look at the progress that has been made implementing audit recommendations, identify any issues with implementation and investigate new issues that may have arisen since the report was tabled. Follow up inquiries also allow the Committee to make recommendations that will improve specific areas of public administration and accountability.
The Auditor-General made the following three recommendations:
1. That the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, in conjunction with Parks Victoria and catchment management authorities:
- develop and implement robust governance arrangements for managing Ramsar sites, including clarifying roles, responsibilities and accountabilities for planning, management and reporting
- strengthen management plans to include time frames and resourcing to ensure that actions are carried out effectively and in a timely way
2. That the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning:
- oversee the development of a finalised Ramsar management plan for the Port Phillip Bay (Western Shoreline) and Bellarine Peninsula and Western Port sites
- work with catchment management authorities and site managers to develop and assess options for the direct funding of management plan activities focused on high-priority threats that impact on the ecological character of Ramsar sites.
- implement arrangements to oversee how management plans are put into effect.
3. That the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning lead the development of a statewide approach to monitoring the ecological character of Ramsar sites, through a specific monitoring, evaluation and reporting framework.
The full report – Meeting Obligations to Protect Ramsar Wetlands – can be accessed here.