Long Term Water Resource Assessment for Southern Victoria

Victoria's first-ever long-term water resource assessment (LTWRA) has found that water availability has declined and that declines in some basins have not been shared equally between the environment and consumptive uses. The assessment report will now be used for extensive community consultation to inform arrangements to more equitably share the state's available water and to respond to any deterioration in waterway health.

The LTWRA is a complex, multi-year project involving many authors. Before they began substantial drafting of the assessment report, we revised their initial contents structure and edited a small sample of text. Using the sample, we prepared writing and editing rules and briefed authors about using the rules as they developed their sections. We then read their first and subsequent drafts and made suggestions from the reader's point of view about how complex information, analysis and graphic concepts could be more clearly put. We also rewrote a lot of the text, edited it and wrote high-level overview text.

With such major, first-time projects, it's often difficult for the uninitiated to see the 'big picture': the connections between the complex parts. So we also worked with the community engagement team to write a summary narrative of the project that they could use in key message communications.

Services provided: structured, readable and polished editing including proofreading and review of page proofs.

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Safer Together MER framework

Safer Together monitoring, evaluation and reporting framework

Victoria's Safer Together program brings together agencies with land and fire responsibilities, their partners and the community to reduce bushfire risks to life, property and the environment. As global heating causes unprecedented, catastrophic increases to these risks, it's more important than ever to monitor, evaluate and continuously improve the program.

The starting point for a monitoring, evaluation and reporting framework is a program logic, setting out its vision, objectives, activities, outputs and outcomes. The whole Safer Together program and its four priorities all have program logics. We reviewed the draft framework to suggest clearer links between the framework's evaluation questions, the program logics and the evaluation questions in the Department of Treasury and Finance's Performance Management Framework for Victorian Government Departments. We ensured consistency across evaluation questions, indicators, data sources and collection methods, and we checked for the consistent use of terminology. We also rewrote the draft as required and edited, proofread and reviewed the page proofs of the final document.

Services provided: structured, readable and polished editing including proofreading and review of page proofs.

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Central Region Sustainable Water Strategy

Sustainable water strategies reviews

Sustainable water strategies are long-term plans for water resources in Victoria. They identify threats to water supply and quality and include actions by water users, water corporations, catchment management authorities and others to address the threats over a 50-year planning horizon. Strategies for Victoria's Central, Gippsland and Western regions were published between 2006 and 2011, and the Water Act 1989 requires progress on actions to be assessed every five years and each strategy to be reviewed after 10 years.

We advised about the structure of the Central Region review report and the assessment reports for the Gippsland and Western regions. We drafted the text of each report, drawing on information, analysis and feedback provided by the review team, consultants, stakeholders and others. We also developed an 'at a glance' format using hyperlinks, so readers could quickly and easily understand the extent of achievement of actions in each strategy. We worked with the team and the ministerial advisory committee to progress the draft reports through multiple iterations and on to publication, completing our involvement with a thorough check of the designed page proofs.

Services provided: structured, readable and polished editing including proofreading and review of page proofs.

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Waterways of the West discussion paper

Protecting the Waterways of the West discussion paper

Melbourne's west is an area of great natural beauty, and its waterways feature strongly in the creation stories of the Wurundjeri Woi wurrung and Wadawurrung Traditional Owners. The region's main rivers — the Maribyrnong, Werribee and Lerderderg rivers — flow through expansive volcanic plains of native grasslands, spectacular gorges and river valleys, productive horticultural land and internationally recognised coastal wetlands. Increasingly, communities want to preserve and enhance the economic, social, environmental, recreational and Traditional Owner values our waterways provide.

We worked with the team producing the discussion paper to revise the draft to structure sentences, paragraphs and sections and to ensure their vision for the draft was expressed clearly, logically and persuasively. We also edited the draft for clarity, consistency and accuracy.

Services provided: structured, readable and polished editing.

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Better apartments in Neighbourhoods discussion paper

Better Apartments in Neighbourhoods discussion paper

The external design of an apartment development is something that affects everyone: the green space it provides and its appearance, wind impacts, interface with the street and construction impacts all directly affect residents, neighbours and the whole neighbourhood.

The discussion paper sets out proposed changes to the planning rules affecting the relationship between new apartment developments and the amenity of existing neighbourhoods. We provided structured and readable editing services for the draft discussion paper to make the structure of each section and the explanations of the proposed changes to the planning rules clear and consistent. A well-structured discussion paper sets the stage for feedback that is organised and focused on specific issues and is therefore easier to use in the decision-making process.

This project continues our involvement with the Better Apartments initiative: in 2017, we provided readable and polished editing services for the draft Better Apartments standards, an overview of the standards, and the public engagement and consultation report about the draft standards.

Services provided: structured, readable and polished editing.

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Seasonal Watering Plan 2019-20

Seasonal watering plan 2019-20

Rain for most people means breaking out a brolly. But getting the right amount of water — not too much and not too little — is essential for the health of Victoria's rivers, lakes and wetlands, and for native plants and animals that rely on them for food and habitat.

The Victorian Environmental Water Holder works with public land managers, waterway and storage managers, local communities, traditional owners and scientists so the environment gets its fair share of the available water. The plan for the 2019-20 water year sets out the environmental watering that will occur under drought, dry, average and wet conditions across Victoria's river systems.

Big (264 page) plans like this are usually produced as separate documents by different authors. To edit them, we first bring them together, standardise the styles and remove style irregularities. This saves the graphic artist going mad working out what's text, what's headings and what's something else. Then there's hundreds of editing checks and the word-by-word, careful reading from start to finish to improve the writing where necessary and fix errors, mistakes, unintended duplication and inconsistencies.

We have now edited this yearly plan for the VEWH since 2015.

Services provided: structured, readable and polished editing including proofreading and review of page proofs.

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Improving Stormwater Management Advisory Committee final report

Improving Stormwater Management Advisory Committee final report

Large, complex reports often result from lengthy processes of research, consultation and review, so it’s not uncommon for the recommendations that emerge to be disconnected from the background, evidence and analysis on which they’re based.

We were engaged to write recommendations for the report and to rewrite and reorganise the draft report to provide a clear ’line of sight’ to each recommendation. This iterative process involved ongoing consultation with the Ministerial Advisory Committee and our clients at DELWP. The rewriting and restructuring were extensive, so we provided short rewritten and restructured segments of the report at various stages to ensure our approach caused no surprises.

Services provided: structured, readable and polished editing.

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Macedon Ranges Localised Planning Statement Macedon Ranges Localised Planning Statement Consultation Draft

Macedon Ranges Localised Planning Statement consultation publications

First we rewrote, edited and proofread the Localised Planning Statement Consultation Draft. After the consultations, we worked with the project team to restructure, rewrite, edit and proofread the consultation findings report, to maximise readability and the consistency of response reporting.

With some 40 years’ experience developing and implementing research and evidence collection programs for publications, we can advise on how to maximise research efficiency: maximising the proportion of research evidence collected to evidence reported. This means lower costs, shorter timelines, better productivity, less stress and more return on your research dollar.

Services provided: structured, readable and polished editing.

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Councils and Emergencies Project consultation documents

Councils and Emergencies consultation publications

Our involvement with the Councils and Emergencies Project began in 2016 with the restructuring and editing of the Councils and emergencies directions paper, which laid the basis for an extensive consultation process to define councils’ current emergency management responsibilities and actions. It continued with restructuring, rewriting and editing of the report of the consultation process — the Councils and emergencies consultation report — and then of the position paper — the Councils and emergencies position paper — that resulted from the consultation process. We also provided advice to make the graphics and the tabular layout of the responsibilities and actions clear and easy to understand.

Consulting with stakeholders is an integral part of developing and implementing policy, and some consultation processes can continue for years. The to-and-fro of consultations aims to resolve complex questions. It’s essential to express ideas clearly and in a logical sequence, to avoid misunderstanding and build trust and a sense of common purpose.

As writers and editors, early involvement in a consultation process gives us many opportunities to clarify what the client is aiming to communicate and to structure their information to make it as easy as possible for stakeholders to understand and respond to.

Services provided: structured, readable and polished editing.

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Victorian Cycling Strategy 2018-28

Victorian Cycling Strategy 2018–28

The Victorian Government has a new strategy to get more people cycling to work, school and around their local neighbourhood.

The strategy’s key message is simple: the Victorian Government intends to increase the number, frequency and diversity of Victorians cycling for transport by investing in a safer, lower-stress, better-connected network, prioritising strategic cycling corridors; and by making cycling a more-inclusive experience.

We worked with the Active Transport Victoria team developing the strategy to make this key message and its components clear and to restructure the draft text around them. We organised the background and evidence for each component and ensured the strategic proposal for each component was clearly based on the background and evidence. Then we rewrote the draft text in a crisp, economical and consistent style. The result is a straightforward, easy-to-read plan for cycling for transport through to 2028.

Services provided: structured, readable and polished editing; proofreading.

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Reflections 2016-17

Reflections 2016-17

As Victoria’s population has grown, demand for water by communities, farms and industry has steadily increased. To recognise and protect the environment’s right to water, the Water Act 1989 gives the Victorian Environmental Water Holder responsibility for managing environmental water entitlements: the legal rights to access a share of water to improve the environmental values and health of Victoria’s rivers, wetlands and floodplains, and the plants and animals that rely on them.

Reflections is the VEWH’s yearly report on environmental watering: what it is, how it benefits the environment and communities, and what happened during the year. For the second year, we rewrote, edited and proofread the drafts of this interesting, informative and beautifully photographed annual review.

Services provided: polished editing; proofreading; review of page proofs.

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Fuel management report 2015-16

Fuel management report 2016-17

Forest Fire Management Victoria report annually — by region and for Victoria — about the achievements of its fuel management program. Fuel management can be a contentious activity and we're delighted to help make the intended outcomes of fuel management activities, and the metrics and narrative that report on achievements, clear and understandable to the public.

This is the third year we've edited this report. In previous years, we restructured the report format to more clearly explain the metrics and what was achieved for the year and hyperlinked background information to data and narrative about the year's achievements. This year, as well as editing and rewriting contributions, we also made extensive use of hyperlinks to relevant Acts, policy statements, key concepts and strategies so readers have the whole story on their screen, at their fingertips.

Services provided: writing; structured, readable and polished editing; proofreading.

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Protecting the Yarra River (Birrarung) final MAC report

Protecting the Yarra River (Birrarung) discussion paper and final report

A historic day of firsts for Victoria: watch it here on YouTube. The first Wurundjeri people to address the parliament, with addresses made in English and Woi-wurrung language. The first Victorian Actto use traditional owners' language in the title. The first Australian Act to designate a river and its public land as one living, integrated, natural entity for protection and improvement.

As The Conversation said, "The Act is remarkable because it combines traditional owner knowledge with modern river management expertise, and treats the Yarra as one integrated living natural entity to be protected."

We're proud to have supported the consultation process that resulted in the Act with editing and proofreading of the Protecting the Yarra River (Birrarung) discussion paper and the Ministerial Advisory Committee final report.

Services provided: readable and polished editing, proofreading.

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Building regulations regulatory impact statement (consultation website)

Building Regulations Sunset Review regulatory impact statement, fact sheets and website text

Regulatory impact statements are complex documents: this one was 150,000 words, in three parts and written by three organisations. First, we cleaned up heading and text styles to reveal the contents structure and find our way about. Although time was short, we managed a polished edit of the whole RIS to fix style and grammar errors, and we fixed more substantial errors as we spotted them. We also wrote an overview to the RIS, the consultation website text, a submission form and fact sheets for use during consultations.

Services provided: readable and polished editing, proofreading.

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Tech schools: a guide for your school community

Tech schools vision statement and guide for school communities

The Victorian Government’s $125 million Tech School initiative aimed to establish 10 leading-edge tech schools that would bring together schools, TAFEs, universities and industry to connect students with their futures. We developed draft principles explaining the initiative, its aims and how parties would work together to implement it. We consulted the draft principles with stakeholders and finalised the draft in the form of a vision statement for the initiative. The principles were used in internal processes prior to launching the initiative, and as the basis for Tech schools: a guide for your school and community.

Services provided: research, writing, readable and polished editing, proofreading.

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Democracy in Geelong background paper

Democracy in Geelong background paper

After the Victorian Parliament dismissed the Greater Geelong City Council in April 2016, there was a concerted effort to consult with the community about a new electoral structure for the city. This meant clarifying and explaining to the community the various electoral options and the interactions between them. We edited, restructured and developed infographics for this background paper, to support the consultation process.

Services provided: readable and polished editing, proofreading.

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 Strategic bushfire management plan Mallee and Murray Goulburn (cover)

Strategic bushfire management plans

Teams in three of Victoria's bushfire risk landscapes had done extensive technical investigation and consultation to develop bushfire risk management plans, including fuel management strategies, for their landscapes. We wrote a template for the first plan, and rules to use it, to ensure statewide consistency while allowing for each landscape’s unique circumstances. We worked with each team to help them use the template and rules to prepare a plan for their landscape. We then updated the template and worked with teams from the remaining four landscapes to develop their plans.

As a result, all seven plans are broadly consistent and feedback is that readers find them easy to understand, interesting and informative.

Services provided: research; writing; structured, readable and polished editing; proofreading.

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