Committee of Management
The Otway Coast Committee of Management was appointed by the State Government Minister for the Environment and Climate Change under Sections 14(2), (3) & 14B(5) of the Crown Land (reserves) Act 1978, from 1st of July 2009 for a three year period. Elections were then held in 2012.
The creation of the OCC resulted from the amalgamation of two earlier Committees of Management by the Department of Sustainability and Environment; The Apollo Bay Kennett River Public Reserves Committee of Management and the smaller Wye River Foreshore Committee of Management.
What does the Committee do?
- Overview of the role of the committee
- Management Issues
- Member Responsibilities
- General Powers, Duties and Responsibilities of a Committee of Management
OCC is an incorporated committee of management established under the provisions of the Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978 (the Act) to manage 28.5km of coastline from Separation Creek to Marengo, and includes Separation Creek, Wye River, Kennett River, Wongarra, Skenes Creek, Apollo Bay and Marengo Foreshore Reserves, the Marengo Tramway Reserve, and the Apollo Bay Cricket and Recreation Reserve.
The committee establishes the broad strategic direction for the development and management of the reserve (including business planning and preparation of detailed budgets) and takes a long term view when making decisions about the future of the coastline. They generate revenue to support coastal management and can seek funds via various government grants.
The predominant revenue source is coastal caravan parks as well as licences and leases. All revenue is directed back to coastal and caravan park management. The Committee is supported by 6 paid staff and up to 7 seasonal staff overseen by the Executive Officer. There is also a network of volunteer groups that assist with natural resource management activities along the coast.
The Committee is accountable for the governance of OCC. It must make assurances to Government that OCC is operating efficiently and effectively and that its operations comply with legislation, Government policy and proper administrative procedures for expenditure of public funds and stewardship of public resources. The strategic directions, polices, development and management of foreshore reserves must comply with relevant State Government, local government and local coastal board planning and policy frameworks. These include but are not limited to:
- Victorian Coastal Strategy 2008
- Boating Coastal Action Plan 2007
- Skenes Creek to Marengo Coastal Action Plan 2001
There are a broad range of management issues along the Otway Coastal reserves. Some of these are seasonal by nature. The Committee grapples with a range of important issues including climate change, population and growth and protection of marine ecological integrity. Other key issues include:
- Providing for the protection of significant environmental and cultural values.
- Undertaking integrated planning to provide clear direction for the future.
- Ensuring the sustainable use of natural coastal resources.
- Ensuring development on the coast is located within existing modified and resilient environments where the demand for the development is evident and the impact can be managed.
- Continued implementation of OCC projects including the preparation of the Coastal Management Plan, development of Coastal Hazards management plan, and upgrades and extensions to walking trails.
Committee members are public officials under the Public Administration Act 2004 and are therefore bound by the public sector values of responsiveness, integrity, impartiality, accountability, respect and leadership, as expressed in the Directors’ Code of Conduct.
OCC meets once a month in Apollo Bay and members are generally expected to attend at least 75% of the scheduled meetings.
For more detail on the duties an obligations of committee members see the State Services Authority’s website (www.ssa.vic.gov.au).
The Minister appoints committees to manage Crown land reserves under the Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978. The powers and responsibilities of committees of management are derived from the Act. The government retains its rights as the landowner and may place limitations on how these powers are executed. The Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) has oversight of the Otway Coast Committee on behalf of the Minister.
The powers, duties and responsibilities to manage the reserve, consistent with these policies, are outlined in Section 15 of the Act and discussed at length in the Committee of Management Responsibilities and Good Practice Guidelines. These include:
- The power to manage, improve, maintain and control the reserve, using reserve-derived revenue;
- Overseeing appropriate use and development of the reserve, subject to any relevant Ministerial consents (under the Coastal Management Act 1995);
- Negotiate and enter into licence, lease or other tenure agreements for appropriate private, commercial or community uses of reserve land, subject to Ministerial approval.
Committees appointed under the Act are insured under the DSE Public and Products Liability policy. The indemnity arrangement requires a committee to notify DSE as soon as they become aware of a claim or an incident likely to result in a claim and to provide all relevant information. The claim is then managed by DSE and includes the cost of legal representation arranged by DSE in accordance with the Whole of Government Legal Panel Contract
Members are appointed by the Minister for Environment and Climate Change (or delegate) under Section 14(4) of the Act.
Number of Members
The committee currently comprises six community representatives. All members are volunteers.
Term of Appointment
The term of appointment is for a maximum of three years.
Committee meetings are normally held on the second Friday of every month.
The committee of management is a body corporate incorporated under the Act. Incorporation simplifies legal processes instigated by the committee and provides powers to borrow and invest money subject to approval by the Treasurer of Victoria.
Probity and Police Checking
All candidates appointmented to a government body must undergo the following checks to the satisfaction of the Minister:
- a National Police Record Check;
- Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), and
- Insolvency Trustee Services Australia (ITSA) checks.
Further information on Coast Committees of Management can be found at the Department of Sustainability and Environment website www.dse.vic.gov.au.