GAB Strategic Management Plan
The agenda for this meeting was dominated by the consultation draft of the GAB Strategic Management Plan (SMP), and associated consultation and communication plans.
An SMP consultation coordinator has been engaged, and members sought an open processes to engage stakeholders (with meaningful participation and contribution), and transparent processes to collect and record comments, and to convey these to all GAB governments and all stakeholders.
At the end of the consultation period comments are to be tabulated and sent to the Steering Committee, then referred to GABCC, and then to GABSOC together with GABCC advice, requiring decisions on how to proceed with Ministers.
Community consultation might commence at end August-early September 2017, resulting (hopefully) in referral to Ministers by December 2017.
It was noted that GABCC would continue in its current arrangement until the GABSOC recommends the final SMP to Ministers, and that appropriate funds would be required.
Committee members were encouraged to champion the SMP during the consultation phase, to generate interest and encourage participation, and to stand beside governments as a partner in the SMP process. For this to occur, it is critical that all members have a sound understanding of the content and a high level of ownership of the objectives and desired outcomes.
The meeting considered a final draft of the SMP and discussed how to tighten and clarify current content and to remedy shortfalls in content. This included checking of the content (principles and implementation) against a composite list of expectations of the SMP; these expectations had been expressed by stakeholders from GABCC 34 onwards.
Particular concern was expressed about the ‘Coordinated governance’ and ‘Implementation’ sections of the draft SMP. Neither of these sections offered any real commitment from governments to engage in Basin-wide governance, resource the SMP implementation, implement the SMP within any particular timeframes or enable continued stakeholder participation in Basin-wide policy development or decision-making. Without commitment from governments, it is unlikely that the SMP will be accepted and implemented by community and industry stakeholders.
The Committee agreed that a continued leadership role is envisaged for the Australian Government in coordinating Basin-wide governance for a nationally significant resource.
There was discussion about draft consultation materials and a stakeholder survey for the SMP, with additional comments to be compiled ahead of the consultation phase.
The Committee agreed to incorporate into consultation materials three new draft GABCC fact sheets that deal with: the background to the SMP (encouraging participation); the GAB Bore Data Report; and the GAB Economic Output Report.
GABSI Stage 4 conclusion and Interim GAB Infrastructure Investment Program
The Committee was advised of arrangements to conclude GABSI 4 at 30 June 2017 and to complete three delayed projects later in 2017, as well as the Interim GAB Infrastructure Program to provide $8M over two years in the transition to a new ‘user-based payment model’.
The Committee agreed to seek agreement to commission an independent report by December 2017 on what was done and not done under the GABSI program, and to summarise costs and benefits (including intangible benefits) and lessons learned, to inform the transition to a new model.
Lake Eyre Basin matters
It was agreed that GABCC would make a submission to the Lake Eyre Basin Inter-Governmental Agreement Review, with consultation planned for September 2017.
The next meeting is tentatively scheduled for December 2017.