SOUTH Coast NRM began life as the South Coast Regional Initiative Planning Team (SCRIPT) in 1994, a grassroots regional partnership which benefited from community consultation and support.
SCRIPT developed into an independent incorporated group which brought together people and organisations and informed the community about sustainable natural resource management and positive social and economic outcomes.
Through strong leadership, SCRIPT attracted a growing membership, which dedicated considerable time to developing partnerships and wider community support. This gave State and Federal Government confidence in using the organisation as a sound means for NRM investment, allowing SCRIPT to play a key role in facilitating and administering funding through several programs across the region.
In 2004, Rob Edkins was appointed CEO and given the task of managing the Federal and State governments $60m National Action Plan and Natural Heritage Trust for Southern Prospects, the South Coast region’s strategy for natural resource management.
The fledgling organisation had to adapt very quickly and develop systems of good management and governance to demonstrate its accountability. This need forced a change of governance structure, so in October 2008, the management committee and executive of SCRIPT metamorphosed into South Coast Natural Resource Management Inc. and a skills-based board of management, which separated and streamlined governance.
The board, together with the NRM Committee, is ultimately supported and informed by a number of theme-based committees and reference groups, which are chaired by a majority of community members.
The new board of management became responsible for setting priorities, providing investment advice, maintaining and increasing funding and making the most efficient use of community input to keep abreast of changes in natural resource management.
Rob Edkins left the organisation in August 2012 and was replaced by our current chief executive, former acting Shire of Katanning CEO, Carl Beck.
The Edkins’ era saw the completion of many projects including the final phase of revegetation at the Denmark River to protect the town’s water supply; the creation of the State dieback map; the delivery of Marine Futures, a project mapping 1,200km2 of WA waters; the Strategic Tree Farming project which revegetated 18,000 ha of forest across the south-west and the delivery of Restoring Connections, a project which engaged Aboriginal people and helped protect cultural sites of significance.
Since inception, more than 3,814 people have been actively involved on a regular basis in projects facilitated by South Coast NRM, while a further 30,901 people have been involved on a less regular basis.
From 2004 the total funding expended to the end of November 2011 was $93.3m, with a further $10.2m to be spent on projects in play and $7.7m on projects coming on-line in the form of Action on the Ground and the Biodiversity Fund.
South Coast NRM continues to flourish and currently employs more than 40 people at its Albany and Esperance offices.