The focus of the business model
The development of a business model for a consortium approach to undertaking future Lake Eyre Basin Rivers Assessments (LEBRA) follows substantial preparatory activities over the past two years. These activities include the preparation of a LEBRA Implementation Plan in 2009/10, its approval by the Lake Eyre Basin Ministerial Forum, their agreement to an Expression of Interest process to consider a consortium approach to implement the methodology outlined in the Plan, and the search for potential collaborators in such a consortium to deliver the Plan.
With a number of potential consortium collaborators now identified, the business model outlined here will guide and support the strategic directions, modus operandi, budget and reporting arrangements associated in executing the LEBRA Implementation Plan. It also advances the consortium approach from being a novel proposition to an essential element of the implementation process.
The model presented is just that; a model or broad proposition for implementing an already agreed Plan through a consortium approach. It is not a detailed action plan, which by rights should be the first task of a consortium to develop once it is established under the guiding principles of the Business Model. That said, the model does identify the various steps that are required to successfully implement the LEBRA, including the key challenge of embedding future Assessments within a Strategic Adaptive Management framework.
Part of the broad proposition presented in this business model is a streamlined governance framework. While such a framework needs to take into account certain existing structures associated with the LEB Intergovernmental Agreement, the move to a consortium approach to undertaking the LEBRA provides an opportunity to streamline the structures associated with this component of the overall LEB governance arrangements.
A fundamental foundation in respect to guiding the business model has been the articulation by LEB stakeholders of a vision for the LEB:
- Lake Eyre Basin: Australia's unique, natural, desert river system.
- Healthy environments; sustainable industries; vibrant communities; adaptive culture
This vision is a constant reminder that the LEBRA, and by implication the LEBRA Consortium, serves to improve the health of environments, the sustainability of industries, the vibrancy of communities and the adaptive capacity of LEB inhabitants and institutions. The components of the vision must act as drivers for and litmus tests of the appropriateness of Consortium activities.
In support of the stakeholder vision, partners in the LEB have identified four categories of objectives that provide purpose and guidance to specific LEB activities. These four categories, outlined in Figure 1, cover 1) natural systems objectives; 2) balancing objectives, people objectives and enabling objectives. While the LEBRA is intended to measure progress towards achieving the natural system objectives and to a lesser extent the balancing objectives, its relationship with the Strategic Adaptive Management (SAM) approach makes it relevant to all LEB objectives.