Gavin, Alanna & Lisette: Undertaking waterway projects on different land tenures & engaging communities

Twinning Partnership:

Gavin Brock & Alanna Wright – Melbourne Water & Lisette Mill – Basalt to Bay Landcare Network

Our project centred around the exchange of information and experience in developing and completing projects along waterways involving a variety of land tenures and types of land owners or managers including; private Land, Crown Land Frontage, Public Reserves, Recreation Reserves; Private Owners, Committees of Management, Parks Victoria, Council and Vic Roads.


our goals were to:

  • exchange information and share experiences about managing waterways with different land tenures and ownership.
  • support each other and be a ‘sounding board’ for ideas, challenges and opportunities.
  • undertake field visits in each other’s catchment to gain an on-ground appreciation of the issues and challenges, and share ideas about how these might be addressed.


Our actions:

  • Lisette and Gavin had sort of regular phone catch ups to swap information, ideas and experiences and basically have a “good ole chat” about work on waterways, politics, and kids.
  • Lisette led a tour of representatives of the Ellerslie Residents Group and Panmure Action Group, Pallisters Reserve, Macarthur Action Association and accompanied by representatives from Moyne and Warrnambool councils to the Cardinia Creek catchment in south east Melbourne. Glenn Brooks-MacMillan from the Cardinia Catchment Landcare Group gave a very comprehensive background to their work and the ways they engage with land owners and managers. He was followed by Vivien Clarke who has been working with landowners to control targeted weeds in the Cardinia Creek corridor.  Vivien and Glenn talked about how they are looking at ways to build on work being undertaken Parks Victoria, Melbourne Water and other land managers that have responsibilities for land adjoining the privately owned properties. Gavin held his end up and answered some very curly questions from the guests.  Although the weather was poor, the conversation and tucker in the Beaconsfield Footy Club rooms was awesome!
  • Gavin ventured out of Westernport to visit Basalt to Bay project sites at Ellerslie and Panmure. At Ellerslie much of the discussion centred around options to work with DELWP to continue work improving the portion of Crown Land that is licenced for grazing along the Hopkins River that is already fenced. There was also some discussion about ways to potentially engage the reluctant land owner adjoining the fenced area who holds the lease to the remainder of the Crown Frontage Land. VicRoads has also been very supportive of the group’s efforts and rezoned some of their road reserve to allow the group to undertake revegetation works between the old and new bridges, continued work in this area will improve the overall reserve. Commencing works on the other side of the river and downstream near the cemetery site will also show the benefits of managing the river frontage to the neighbours.
  • At Panmure there is already great support from DELWP, council and the community for the project that has been commenced around the reserve and the swimming hole. The group is looking to consolidate the works it has already completed in clearing a small pine plantation to across the creek to the swimming hole by revegetation the area. There was some discussion about how this might be achieved including the option of direct seeding some of the site. The Group is also working with the Recreation Reserve Committee of Management and the Football/Netball Club to complete projects near the footy ground. They are helping each other out by swapping labour on different projects around the boundary of the footy ground and along Mount Emu Creek.


Gavin and Lisette reporting on their project at the Twinning is winning graduation event.


Program’s legacy:

  • The project has strengthened some local relationships in the Basalt to Bay Network area, reinvigorated the groups (especially Ellerslie) to continue works on their projects.
  • The project has also strengthened the knowledge of local government agency staff on what can be achieved at local scale on waterways in the future- and how important they are as drivers of riparian change.
  • Into the future Lisette will continue to support and encourage the two groups to achieve their goals, and help Crown Land managers to understand and promote greater community pride and access to Crown River Frontage in small townships across Moyne and Warrnambool LGAs.
  • There are mutterings about some representatives of the Cardinia Catchment Landcare Group paying a visit to Ellerslie and Panmure to see firsthand the projects and gain a better understanding of the shared goals and opportunities.


What did you personally gain from the Waterway management Twinning Program?

“I think I gained more from this experience than I was able to impart to the Lisette and the Basalt to Bay crew.  I enjoyed the interaction with new people trying to achieve the same things in their own area. The discussion and site visits, exchange of information served to affirm that what I am doing (and MW) is doing is on the right track. Saying it out loud and getting the nod of heads and the “yeah we’ve been trying that” type comments is great to verify my own work.

We know partnerships are the best way to achieve waterway improvement and the demonstration of this by groups in other areas is fantastic to keep me developing new partnerships and continuing to support the joint projects we already have going.  Thanks for being a fantastic mentee Lisette and giving me as much as I hope I was able to support you.”

– Gavin Brock 

“It is always good to get out of your own head and into the eyes of others. Gavin and Alanna have an impressive range of experiences between them, and they are very good at helping guide another way of tackling an idea or an attitude. I have really enjoyed learning about what Gavin does in his work at Melbourne Water, especially as without this mentoring program I would never have had the opportunity to pick his brains nor hear from him what he thinks about the work we do.

Gav is right about partnerships – they are the backbone of our programs but also guide us to be the people we want to learn to become, so we can be better resources to the groups and communities we serve. I feel as though the mentoring (and weather predictions) journey ha enabled me to be a better resource – and has given me a connection to people I hope will continue to be a part of my future working in natural resource management.”

– Lisette Mill

“I find meeting passionate people who work in the industry invigorating and re-energising for my own role.  This program has been a great opportunity to see what issues are being dealt with around the state, and with so many like our own it’s great sharing experiences and ideas.  I’ve enjoyed making my contribution to the program strategically, connecting with people who have some great experience, and helping guide future outcomes as well as just being a good ear to talk to!”

– Alanna Wright