THE Victorian Government last week unveiled the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Amendment Bill 2018 to modernise and strengthen the existing Act, which has been in place for nearly 30 years and no longer reflects current conservation knowledge and approaches to regulation.
According to the government, the Bill will:
- Help prevent flora and fauna from becoming threatened and restore the conservation status of threatened species;
- Provide longer-term protection for critical habitats; and
- Improve enforcement powers and penalties for all offences.
The government said that community consultation, which was central to shaping the Bill, occurred in 2017 and attracted 210 submissions.
The Bill, which was a key election commitment, aligns with other major biodiversity initiatives being delivered by the State Government, including a biodiversity plan over 20 years and a review of the native vegetation clearing regulations.
To implement the changes, the State Government has invested $86.3 million for the Biodiversity Plan, including $2.5 million to review the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act and implement the reforms it introduces.