Simon Pearsall

Simon Pearsall

Simon has worked in a variety of roles in the water industry including asset management, corporate strategy and most recently waterway management. His passion is creating economic, social and environmentally sustainable solutions for our urban waterway issue.

Creating Clear Leadership to Implement the Parramatta River Masterplan

The launch of the Parramatta River Masterplan in October 2018 marked a significant milestone for urban waterway governance in Sydney. This 10-step plan details the actions that must be implemented to make the Parramatta River swimmable again by 2025.

The Masterplan’s success to date can be attributed to two key elements: 1) the community engagement and decision making processes adopted throughout its development and implementation and 2) the unique, collaborative leadership model developed to ensure the Masterplan is delivered.

The community was actively involved in decision making throughout the entire Masterplan development process. They had a say in what they wanted their river to look like, which swimming sites should be activated, what they would like to see at each site and which animals or plants should be the focal point for ecological management. This engagement created community momentum for the Masterplan, which then encouraged councils, state agencies and other organisations to support it. One year on, community engagement has continued to be central to implementation, with people being able to follow progress via a web-based dashboard and provide input into each of the ten steps.

The Masterplan was developed and is now being delivered via a collaborative governance arrangement. The Parramatta River Catchment Group is supported by membership fees from local and state government bodies and is the overarching body overseeing its implementation. One agency has agreed to take the lead and provide core funding to coordinate overall delivery, monitoring and reporting. A second member agency hosts the PRCG operational staff and other member agencies are taking a lead on key steps and actions within the plan.

This presentation will outline how these two key elements are ensuring our mission is successful and how the principles of this approach would be successful in both urban and rural catchment management.

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