Frequently asked questions
Last update: 5 February 2013
How will regional NRM plans be used by the Clean Energy Regulator?
In applying to the Clean Energy Regulator to carry out an eligible offsets project under the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI), CFI proponents need to declare whether their project is consistent with a relevant regional NRM plan. Information on eligible offsets projects is included in the Register of Offsets Projects available at www.cleanenergyregulator.gov.au/Carbon-Farming-Initiative/Register-of-Offsets-Projects/Pages/default.aspx.
To ensure potential benefits are maximised for agricultural productivity, biodiversity and local communities from CFI projects, it is important that CFI project proponents have access to recent regional NRM plans that include up to date climate change information.
As part of the regional NRM planning process, regional NRM organisations should keep informed of the CFI approved methodologies as they are drafted and the positive and negative lists, and anticipate the type of CFI projects that may be undertaken in their region.
More information on the CFI approved methodologies is available on the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency's website at www.climatechange.gov.au/en/government/initiatives/carbon-farming-initiative/methodology-development
What is the Regional Natural Resource Management (NRM) Planning for Climate Change Fund?
The Regional NRM Planning for Climate Change Fund aims to help regional communities plan for climate change impacts on the land and to maximise the environmental benefits of biodiversity and carbon farming projects. The Regional NRM Planning for Climate Change Fund has $43.9 million over five years to support regional NRM organisations to update existing regional NRM plans to incorporate climate change mitigation and adaptation approaches.
Of the $43.9 million, the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities will administer Stream 1 of the Fund. Stream 1 is a five-year $28.9 million program with $24.16 million availalbe over four years from 2012-2013 to assist regions to plan for climate change impacts by updating their regional NRM plans to guide the location of biodiversity and carbon storage projects across the landscape.
The Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency will administer Stream 2 of the Fund which is $15 million for the coordination of research to produce regional-level climate change information in the form of scenarios to support medium term natural resource management planning. It will also support regional NRM organisations to utilise this information in updating their regional NRM plans.
What is a regional NRM organisation?
The Australian Government, in association with state and territory governments, has identified NRM regions across Australia based on catchments or bioregions.
Each region has an identified regional NRM organisation that may work with stakeholders, including local and state / territory governments, to deliver region-wide NRM priorities, and undertakes to plan, coordinate and support NRM within the region.
What is a regional NRM plan?
A regional NRM plan, prepared by each of the regional NRM organisations, documents the NRM aspirations, assets, priorities and the unique challenges faced by the region. Plans generally engage and support regional and rural communities, facilitate partnerships within and between regions, identify the region's NRM priorities and tackle the challenges that threaten the sustainability of the region.
A good regional NRM plan is adaptive, timebound, reflects the views of all stakeholders, and is linked to relevant implementation plans.
How many NRM regions are there in Australia?
The number of NRM regions in Australia was recently reduced from 56 to 54 NRM regions due to amalgamations by the New South Wales government of regional NRM organisations (Catchment Management Authorities) in New South Wales.
A full list of regional NRM organisations currently eligible for funding under Stream 1 of the Regional NRM Planning for Climate Change Fund is provided in Appendix 2 of the Guidelines.
When are regional NRM plans expected to be updated for climate change under the Fund?
Under Stream 1 of the Regional NRM Planning for Climate Change Fund, regional NRM plans need to be updated no later than February 2016. It is expected that some regional NRM organisations will complete their updates prior to this date.
How are the Biodiversity Fund and the Carbon Farming Initiative linked to this Fund?
The Fund complements the Biodiversity Fund and the Carbon Farming Initiative by supporting planning that will help guide the types and locations of activities under these initiatives, primarily reforestation activities and the management of remnant vegetation.
Under the Carbon Farming Initiative, applicants for eligible offsets projects will need to identify consistency with the relevant regional NRM plan. An eligible offsets project is a project that involves activities that achieve greenhouse gas abatement and has been declared by the Clean Energy Regulator as an eligible offsets project. For more information on eligible offsets projects under the Carbon Farming Initiative visit www.cleanenergyregulator.gov.au/Carbon-Farming-Initiative/How-does-it-work/Step-2-Apply-for-a-project/Pages/default.aspx
What are the expectations of the Australian Government for the process to adapt plans in response to new information into the future?
A key aim of updating the regional NRM plans under Stream 1 of the Fund is that plans are considered 'living' documents and that an adaptive management approach is taken that promotes continual improvement of strategic planning.
The Australian Government will consider the draft and final updated regional NRM plans against the Principles for the Regional NRM Planning for Climate Change Fund. Considerations will include whether the updated regional NRM plans adequately outline processes for future adaptation of the plan in response to new knowledge, changing circumstances and monitoring, evaluation and reporting information, and whether the plan outlines a process, and identifies triggers, for incorporation of new climate change knowledge and information.
The process for adapting regional NRM plans over time will depend on the region's circumstances, in line with existing statutory or non-statutory arrangements.
What are the Australian Government's expectations of governance arrangements for the NRM plans?
Part of the assessment of applications for funding under Stream 1 of the Fund will include consideration of the applicant's capacity to deliver an updated regional NRM plan on time and within budget, and the proposed governance arrangements for updating the regional NRM plans.
The Principles for the Regional NRM Planning for Climate Change Fund also consider adaptive governance as a component of the process for developing and adapting regional NRM plans over time. Therefore, governance arrangements, including roles and responsibilities and review / check points, that will support the adaptation of regional NRM plans over time will be a consideration when the Australian Government reviews the draft and final updated regional NRM plans against the Principles for the Regional NRM Planning for Climate Change Fund.
Notwithstanding any input by the Department, the regional NRM organisation will at all times remain responsible for ensuring the content of its regional NRM plan is accurate, up to date, consistent with all legal and regulatory requirements and is of a high quality.
What level of detail is expected from NRM plans and the data/models used to support those plans?
The Government acknowledges that there are significant differences in the status, style and requirements of regional NRM plans within and across regions, states and territories.
Within the scope of the Principles for the Regional NRM Planning for Climate Change Fund, regional NRM organisations may contextualise the principles at a regional scale. The level of detail in updated regional NRM plans therefore may vary according to specific circumstances in each NRM region across Australia.
It is understood that some regional NRM organisations have advanced climate change information that may be of high resolution and directly applicable to their regions. In these cases regional NRM organisations may use the information that is most effective and relevant for land use planning and management in their region. However, care should be taken to avoid 'false precision' through the use of high resolution climate change data that does not adequately represent the full spectrum of potential changes.
Appendix 1 of the Guidelines provides guidance for meeting the Principles including what information the Australian Government is looking to see in updated NRM Plans (or equivalent) and typical questions the Australian Government may ask when considering the updated regional NRM plan (or equivalent) against the Principles and Attributes.
How much money is available to update regional NRM plans? How much money will each successful application receive?
Funding for investment under Stream 1 of the Fund is $24.16 million over four years commencing in 2012-13. The final level of funding granted to each successful application will be determined on a competitive case by case basis.
What are the Principles for the Regional NRM Planning for Climate Change Fund?
Regional NRM plan updates under Stream 1 of the Fund will be underpinned by the Principles for the Regional NRM Planning for Climate Change Fund (the Principles). The Principles are designed to guide regional NRM planning processes in a nationally consistent way, whilst recognising the differences in the status, style and requirements of regional NRM plans between regions, states and territories. There is scope for regional NRM organisations to contextualise the principles at a regional scale. Updates made to regional NRM plans under Stream 1 of the Fund must address the Principles and associated Attributes. The Principles require that:
- Plans identify priority landscapes for carbon plantings and strategies to build landscape integrity and guide adaptation and mitigation actions to address climate change impacts on natural ecosystems;
- Planning process is logical, comprehensive, and transparent; and
- Plans use best available information to develop actions and are based on collaboration with government, community and other stakeholders.
Upon completion, the Department will make an assessment of the updated regional NRM plans and, if they are consistent with the Principles, declare that the terms of funding have been met. Updated regional NRM plans will be considered in consultation with the Land Sector Carbon and Biodiversity Board.
- More about the Principles for the Regional NRM Planning for Climate Change Fund
- More about the Land Sector Carbon and Biodiversity Board
How were the Principles for the Regional NRM Planning for Climate Change Fund developed and what consultation was undertaken?
The Principles for the Regional NRM Planning for Climate Change Fund (the Principles) were developed in consultation with key stakeholders including regional NRM organisations, independent scientists and government officials.
Is my region expected to work with other regional NRM organisations to update the regional NRM plan?
Yes, where relevant. NRM regions may cross over common landscapes, catchments, local government, or Regional Development Australia regions, land use types or similar community organisations.
It is a requirement under the Principles that updates to the regional NRM plan show evidence of cooperation for cross-regional planning for climate change adaptation and mitigation activities where relevant. Working collaboratively with neighbouring regional NRM organisations may be beneficial in ensuring common activities use best practice management strategies, knowledge or expertise is shared, and actions are undertaken where joint partnerships benefit the landscape and stakeholders.
How will Stream 1 take into account the recent changes to Catchment Management Authorities in NSW?
In relation to recent changes in New South Wales, applications from Western, Murray and Hawkesbury-Nepean Catchment Management Authorities can include activities to update the regional NRM plans (Catchment Action Plans) they have inherited from the former Lower Murray Darling and Sydney Metropolitan Catchment Management Authorities through amalgamations. These applications should clearly explain how the updates will be handled across the newly defined areas covered by the Catchment Action Plans, consistent with the requirements and Principles for Stream 1 of the Fund. Funding allocations for successful applications will be determined on a case by case basis.
What opportunities are there for Indigenous Australians to be involved in Stream 1 of the Regional NRM Planning for Climate Change Fund?
There is opportunity for Indigenous Australians to link in with their relevant regional NRM organisation through their community engagement and consultation process. The Principles require that effective consultation and engagement processes are undertaken, including with relevant Indigenous groups.
There is a lot of climate change information currently available on various databases. Are regional NRM organisations able to use these sources of information?
It is important that regional NRM plans use information that is current and the most relevant to their region in order to most effectively guide regional NRM planning and management. It is expected that regional NRM plans will incorporate the most relevant and up-to-date climate change scenarios and information for their region on an ongoing basis.
There may be relevant climate change information available through federal, state or local government datasets.
Where regional NRM organisations are not able to freely access relevant datasets at an appropriate scale and resolution, Stream 1 funding may be used to assist with accessing this information where it is critical to making the required updates to the regional NRM plan.
What are the monitoring and reporting requirements?
The Australian Government requires monitoring and reporting for all environment and natural resource management programs.
Applicants can allocate a maximum of 5 per cent of their total grant amount to monitoring and reporting activities.
Applicants' ability to meet the required reporting obligations within the given timeframe is important for the continuation of funding.
The Department may ask for further information and/or conduct site visits and/or arrange inspections by third parties from time to time to monitor the progress of the project.
Further information on reporting requirements is available in Section 8 of the Guidelines.
Who can apply for funding under Stream 1 of the Regional NRM Planning for Climate Change Fund?
Stream 1 of the Regional NRM Planning for Climate Change Fund welcomes applications from regional NRM organisations as listed in the Guidelines.
As an individual land manager/community/Landcare group, can I apply for this Fund?
No. This fund is specifically for the regional NRM organisations to update their regions' NRM plans. However, it is a requirement that the regional NRM organisations meaningfully engage the regional community in updating the regional NRM plan.
What if my regional NRM plan has already been updated recently?
Some regional NRM plans will have been recently updated, including through state-based processes. Under Stream 1 of the Fund, it is expected that regional NRM organsiations will be able to continue adapting, improving and updating their regional NRM plans to meet the Principles.
How do these updates align with statutory arrangements for regional NRM plans?
Regional NRM plans will continue to be managed in line with existing statutory or non statutory arrangements, but updated to include links to Australian Government policies and initiatives.
Can funds under Stream 1 of the Regional NRM Planning for Climate Change Fund be used to update an entire regional NRM plan?
Applications should not be submitted for NRM planning activities that are beyond the scope of matters covered by the Principles for the Regional NRM Planning for Climate Change Fund. If a regional NRM organisation wishes to undertake a full review of their existing regional NRM plan at the same time as updating their plan for climate change, they will be required to fund updates outside the scope of the Principles through other means. They will still be required to meet the update timeframes required under Stream 1 of the Fund.
The Department recognises that updated regional NRM plans will differ between regional NRM organisations depending on state or territory jurisdictional requirements and planning processes, and the time since they were last updated. Therefore updates should be made in an appropriate format (e.g. as a single chapter of the plan, throughout the plan, or as an addendum to a current plan) and the reason for this format explained in the application for funding.
My region has already undertaken some planning. Will these activities be funded through Stream 1?
Applications should not be submitted for activities that are already completed. There will not be any retrospective payments. Stream 1 of the Fund will support additional climate change planning activities to assist in updating regional NRM plans consistent with the Principles.
Can Stream 1 funds be used to engage additional expertise to assist in updating the regional NRM plan?
Regional NRM organisations may choose to apply to engage specific technical expertise or facilitation skills where these are required to update their regional NRM plan. The application should explain why this expertise is required to update the regional NRM plan.
Is my regional NRM organisation required to make financial or in-kind (non-financial) contributions as part of the application for funding?
It is not a requirement of Stream 1 of the Fund that regional NRM organisations provide financial or in-kind contributions to updating the regional NRM plans, however contributions of funds from other sources will assist in value for money considerations.
Why should regional NRM plans be updated?
Climate change is an emerging threat and now is an appropriate time to update regional NRM plans to align with and reflect new national and global challenges and the establishment of carbon markets.
Updating regional NRM plans will assist regions to prepare for the potential ecosystem impacts of climate change and to guide where carbon bio-sequestration opportunities exist and management actions should occur in the Australian landscape.
This update process allows regional NRM plans to incorporate current, relevant climate change information and scenarios at an appropriate scale. It also supports planning that will help guide the type and location of activities in the context of the Biodiversity Fund and Carbon Farming Initiative.
How will the competitive funding process work, particularly where regional NRM organisations choose to work collectively on matters?
Working collaboratively with neighbouring regional NRM organisations may be beneficial in ensuring common activities use best practice management strategies, knowledge or expertise is shared, and where joint partnerships benefit the landscape and stakeholders.
The Principles for the Regional NRM Planning for Climate Change Fund specify that updates to regional NRM plans need to show evidence of cooperation for cross-regional planning for climate change adaptation and mitigation activities where relevant.
Where regional NRM organisations propose to work collectively on matters and /or pool resources to achieve a common outcome, they should still submit individual applications for funding. The application form provides scope (section 7.3 and 7.4) to identify elements of applications that are part of the proposed collaboration and the proportion of funds being sought to contribute to the collaboration. The department will consider these elements in its overall assessment of applications against the assessment criteria published in the guidelines.
How can I apply for Stream 1 funding?
For information about how to apply for funding read the Guidelines.
- Grant Guidelines 2012-13 - applying for funding
When do applications for funding close?
Applications close at 5:00pm (AEDST) on 26 February 2013.
How do I check my Australian Business Number (ABN)?
You can use the ABN Lookup website to check your ABN - abr.business.gov.au.
How will I know that my submitted application has been received?
Applicants will be notified within 5 working days to confirm the Department's receipt of their application.
Can several regions submit a collective application to Stream 1 of the Regional NRM Planning for Climate Change Fund?
Regional NRM organisations must submit separate applications for funding. However where multiple regional NRM organisations would like to pool resources to achieve a common outcome, this can be identified in each region's application identifying the proportion of funds that are being requested by that region for the collective activity.
Can a single regional NRM organisation submit multiple applications for funding under Stream 1 of the Regional NRM Planning for Climate Change Fund?
Each eligible regional NRM organisation may submit only one application.
Will the closing date for submitting applications be extended?
At this stage, there will be no extension for applications for Stream 1. The Department may, at its sole discretion, extend the application period. Any such extension will be communicated to all eligible regional NRM organisations via email to CEOs or equivalent only, and published on this website.
Will there be another round of funding under Stream 1?
At this stage there are no plans for further rounds of funding.
Where can I get further information or assistance?
If you require further information or require assistance regarding Stream 1 of the Regional NRM Planning for Climate Change Fund, please contact:
Phone: 1800 008 678
How will I know if my application is successful?
Both successful and unsuccessful applicants will be advised in writing of the outcome their application on completion of the assessment process. Details of successful applicants will also be listed on the Department's website.
What are the criteria that will be applied to determine the quantum of funding to be allocated to individual regional NRM organisations and is there an upper limit on the amount that applicants can reasonably expect to apply for?
Applications, including the funding sought, will be assessed against the assessment criteria published in the guidelines. Assessment of applications will also consider the content and nature of an NRM region's existing regional NRM plan compared with program objectives and the need for activities and resources to update the regional NRM plan against the Principles.
A funding range has not been specified. Applications need to justify the resources required to make the updates to the plan in order to satisfy the Principles. Project budget profiles may need to be adjusted to align with available budget. The final level of funding granted to each successful application will be determined on a competitive case by case basis.
Can funding be carried over beyond the year of commitment if appropriate contracts are in place?
No funding cannot be carried over beyond the year of commitment.
What is Stream 2 of the Regional NRM Planning for Climate Change Fund?
Stream 2 will support coordination of research to produce regional-level climate change information to support medium term natural resource management planning.
Stream 2 includes two elements:
- Element 1 will deliver regional climate projections for the whole of Australia. The projections will focus on the elements of climate change of highest priority to regional NRM organisations.
- Element 2 will deliver $8 million over four financial years for research institutions to work with regional NRM organisations to deliver information on climate change, its impacts and potential adaptation responses, and provide guidance on how to use that information in NRM planning through the NRM Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Research Grants Program.
How does Stream 1 link with Stream 2?
The research information and climate change scenarios produced under Stream 2 of the Fund may be utilised by the regional NRM organisations to improve their knowledge and use of best available information when updating regional NRM plans under Stream 1.
Why was Stream 2 released before Stream 1?
Up-to-date climate change information produced under Stream 2 is intended to be used by regional NRM organisations in the update of their regional NRM plans under Stream 1. It is appropriate for Stream 2 to commence preparation and dissemination of information to the relevant regions in the "cluster" during the early stages of updating regional NRM plans.
How will regional NRM organisations know which Stream 2 "cluster" they have been grouped into?
For delivery of Stream 2 of the NRM Fund, the NRM regions across Australia have been grouped into eight 'clusters'. The clusters have been designed according to common characteristics in relation to land use, climate and how these are anticipated to change.
What Stream 2 projects are happening in the "cluster" for my region?
Under the Impacts and Adaptation Research Grants element of Stream 2, research institutions will work with planners in regional NRM organisations in the "clusters" to deliver relevant information on climate change, its impacts and potential adaptation responses, and provide guidance on how to use that information in NRM planning. Further information about the Impacts and Adaptation Grants Program is available on the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency website: www.climatechange.gov.au/NRMfundstream2
Where can I get more information about Stream 2?
For more details about Stream 2, visit the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency website: www.climatechange.gov.au/NRMfundstream2. Enquiries can be sent to NRMFund.email@example.com or phone (02) 6159 7196.