THE Victorian Government last week released the public consultation paper 'Future directions for native vegetation in Victoria: Review of Victoria's native vegetation permitted clearing regulations' and called for feedback on proposed improvements to the system.
The current permitted clearing policy, Victoria's Native Vegetation Management: A Framework for Action, has been in place for 10 years and Environment and Climate Change Minister Ryan Smith said it is timely that the government undertakes a comprehensive review of the regulations.
According to the Department of Sustainability and Environment, the aim of the review is to "ensure the permitted clearing regulations are contributing to achieving Victoria's biodiversity objectives efficiently and effectively."
Mr Smith said the review will look at improvements to the system in order to identify opportunities for better and more targeted environmental outcomes, with reduced regulatory burden and lower costs for the landholder and the community.
It will also examine the outcomes of earlier investigations to measure whether such recommendations were effectively implemented, and seek community input to drive new improvements.
"Native vegetation is important for Victoria's biodiversity. It provides habitat for plants and animals and a range of ecosystem services essential for human wellbeing," Mr Smith said.
"Managing native vegetation effectively and sustainably is important. Regulations dating back to 1989 have worked to prevent broad scale clearing of native vegetation in Victoria, and have limited the impact of land use change on biodiversity.
"There has been a succession of reviews and reports into the native vegetation arrangements during the past decade, which have highlighted a range of concerns and areas for improvement," Mr Smith said.
The purpose of the consultation paper is to give stakeholders and the community an opportunity to provide feedback about:
- Issues identified with the current permitted clearing regulations;
- The four priority reforms, and five supporting reforms, proposed to address these issues; and
- Issues related to implementing the proposed reform.
The government said it will consider the feedback before confirming its preferred approach. A series of draft documents detailing the technical and implementation changes to the permitted clearing regulations will be released for public comment later in the year.
The consultation paper, 'Future directions for native vegetation in Victoria: Review of Victoria's native vegetation permitted clearing regulations', is available from the Department of Sustainability and Environment website at <http://www.dse.vic.gov.au/nativevegetation>. Submissions are due by 19 October 2012.