VICTORIAN Environment and Climate Change Minister Ryan Smith last week launched the Native Vegetation Information Management system (NVIM), which allows landholders to identify proposed vegetation that may need to be removed on their properties.
The new system is part of the Victorian Government's reforms to the state's native vegetation permitted clearing regulations, which were announced in May this year. The regulations outline how planning applications to remove vegetation for farming, housing and major infrastructure projects will be considered, taking into account potential impacts on biodiversity.
"This tool will play a key part in delivering benefits to landholders and the environment. With the NVIM providing information up front, the majority of landholders will not need to pay for specialist advice from a consultant. Landholders will benefit from increased certainty, knowing that they are making informed decisions for their property and the environment," Mr Smith said.
"When I launched the regulations earlier this year, I said the changes were about striking the right balance between protecting the environment and assisting Victoria's farmers and landholders to make the best possible decisions about managing their land.
"This purpose-built tool is an excellent example of that balance – clear, concise information in an easily accessible format that streamlines the application process, while also making sure there is an increased focus on protecting native vegetation and threatened species.
"Our commitment remains focused on developing a system that is easy for everyone to use; creating a more efficient process for landholders and delivering better and more targeted environmental outcomes for the state," Mr Smith said.
In preparation for the introduction of the new permitted clearing regulations, the Department of Environment of Primary Industries (DEPI) is providing training for local government and DEPI staff who have responsibility for assessing and deciding on applications for permits for the removal of native vegetation.
"More than 300 local government planners and government staff will have taken part in this training by the end of the month, and will be ready to support landholders as they familiarise themselves with NVIM," Mr Smith said.
"The online tool and the training mean that the community, local councils and DEPI are well placed to implement the reforms to Victoria's native vegetation permitted clearing regulations, due to take effect shortly – after amendments to the Victoria Planning Provisions."
More information about the Native Vegetation Information Management system is available from the Department of Environment and Primary Industries website at <http://www.depi.vic.gov.au/nativevegetation>.