Management and Governance

Resilience is one approach to management. All forms of management require that stakeholders take action to alter the system or promote and sustain aspects deemed to be advantageous. Stakeholders in the Port Phillip Bay system are identifies in Table 8.

Below: Table 8: Range of stakeholders in Port Phillip Bay (DSE, 2007)

Local, State, Territory and Commonwealth Governments, Agencies and Authorities

Community and Special-Interest Groups

Financial Institutions

Scientists and Academics

Victorian Gas, Electricity and Water users

Tourism, Sport and Recreation groups

Trade and Employer Organisations and Unions

Media Organisations

Local, national and international business organisations

Commercial and Recreational Fishing and Aquaculture Sectors

Transport Industry

Surveying and Planning Organisations

Food and Agricultural Industries

Forest and Timber Industries

Environmental Groups

Home Owners

Land and Water Managers, Planners and Developers

Building Industry and Real-Estate Organisations

Conflicts and disagreements always occur as different values are placed on the system resources and services by stakeholders. The task of managers is to reconcile the views and to take a more holistic view of the system.  A balance must be struck between the desires of one interest group and another. Pushing the system too far in one direction to maximise the benefits for one set of stakeholders may result in a threshold being crossed and a system state shift. Table 9 highlights some of the areas of conflict that stakeholders have over the management and future of Port Phillip Bay.

Below: Table 9: Areas of conflict over Port Phillip Bay with stakeholders and reasons (Harris et al., 1996; DSE, 2002; Blue Wedges, 2009; Port of Melbourne Corporation, 2009; Victoria Department of Natural Resources and Environment, 2002)

Area of Conflict



Port Expansion

Environmental Groups (Blue Wedges, Southern Victoria Community Action Group, Marvellous Melbourne)

Increased turbidity, toxic spills, disruption to habitat zones, migration patterns

Residents and Businesses


Noise and disruption

Shipping traffic creates problems for water based tourism


Expansion, good for economy


Some departments want expansion, others do not (EPA)


Environmental Groups (Blue Wedges, EPA)

Increased turbidity, loss of aesthetic values

Government, Businesses and Port of Melbourne Corporation

Want bigger and more ships do dock for expanding goods and services.

Marina Construction

Businesses and locals want it

Increases land value

Need place for their boats

Environmental Organisations (Blue Wedges, Association of Bayside Municipalities, Reef Watch Victoria etc.)

Disruption to habitat zones, migration patterns of biota

Increases boat disturbance – spills, turbidity etc.

All territory and therefore resources are controlled and governed by sets of rights holders. Managers cannot interfere with components and systems that are outside their jurisdiction. Port Phillip Bay is a large system and has a number of right issues attached.

Figure 20: Location and names of coastal Victorian councils in Port Phillip Bay. After Australian Government (2009)

Water and sea bed from high water mark to a 3 mile nautical limit belong to the Crown under the jurisdiction of the Victorian government. The rest of the coastal land is owned by the respective Victorian Councils.

If the land is public, legislation will determine its status and may have a manager designated to it by the Minister for Marine Conservation and the Environment. Issues arise here between national policies and system orientated management decision which will not be easily reconciled.

Private land is governed under the Planning and Environment Act, 1987. Local councils act as planning authorities and have jurisdiction over:

  • National Parks and other designated park areas (National Parks Act, 1975)
  • Crown land that is ‘reserved’ for a purpose (Crown Land (Reserves) Act, 1987)
  • Designated ‘unreserved’ Crown Land (Land Act, 195)

Any unreserved Crown land is managed directly by the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) of which Port Phillip Bay is bound by. Large areas of overlap exist between Port Phillip institutions which can fulfil both planning and regulatory roles.

Below: Table 10: Planning and regulatory bodies


State Government

Victorian Coastal Council

Environment Conservation Council

Fisheries Co-management Council

Catchment and Land Protection Council



Department of Infrastructure

Regional Government

Central Coastal Board

Port Phillip Catchment and Land Protection Board

Parks Victoria

Local Government

Municipal Council

Committee of Management

Parks Victoria


State Government



Marine Board

Parks Victoria

Heritage Victoria

Victorian Channels Authority

Local Government

Municipal Councils

The activities that state agencies regulate are shown in Table 11. To effectively manage a system the balance of influence and the legislative issues must be understood. The relationships between stakeholders can help or hinder management decisions. Without the correct access rights and permissions, management strategies are doomed to fail.

Below: Table 11: Government agencies and their regulatory commitments

Government Agency

Regulated Activities


Use and development of coastal crown land

Protection of rare and threatened flora and fauna


Commercial Fishing

Mineral exploration and exploitation

Dredging and spoil disposal

Victoria Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Licensing of waste disposal

water quality

Oil pollution

Marine Board of Victoria

Marine navigation and recreational boat activities

Parks Victoria

Port works and facilities in Port Phillip Bay

recreational uses of water

Port of Melbourne Corporation (PoMC)

Management and operation of the port of Melbourne

Victorian Channels Authority

Management and operation of the port Phillip Bay shipping channels

Heritage Victoria

Shipwrecks and maritime heritage

Municipal Councils

Planning and approving buildings, waste disposal, regulations and by-laws affecting development of coastal shores

Previous: Stable States and Thresholds

Next: Adaptive Management


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