Environmental policy research driving positive change to Sydney’s catchments

Project: Consultancy

Project Details


Environmental policy is used to inform strategic planning and statutory (development approval) landuse planning decisions. Planning law offers the framework for environmental policy but its impact is subject to many variables including its evidentiary basis, ease and consistency in application and how well it is understood by those making decisions. Work undertaken by Macquarie University for the Parramatta River Catchment Councils and others has been used to create a shared governance framework for strategic decision making, develop new community based strategic planning tools and in setting standard landuse planning approaches. The strength of this work lies in the interdisciplinary approach, partnerships with government and industry and leverage from research.

Key findings

• The rapid riparian assessment (RRA) tool. This was initially developed in 2007 as part of a Master of Science degree by Sophia Findlay, now at Ku-ring-gai. This is an urban focused tool designed around the needs of smaller land managers and complements other approaches such as River Styles. Training on the RRA has been delivered to a number of organisations, including Sydney Water, and the tool itself is used widely across local councils, including by Carl Tippler (MQ HRD student) as an consultant who has also refined the tool and offered this through an on-line reporting portal.
• The iconic species methodology was led by Carl Tippler with Davies as part of his research and consultancy. The methodology is being prepared for publication but has been used in the South Creek Catchment, Sydney.
• The governance review was established prior to the completion of the current strategic plan for the PRCG. It provided various recommendations for leadership and was based on an applied research consultancy. The findings supported the current leadership role of Sydney Water Corporation.
• The standardarding the standards project is the most recent research project. It has identified a number of landuse planning and policy approaches for the catchment councils and agencies and has recommended new tools and approaches to facilitate decision making.
Effective start/end date1/01/161/01/21