Victorian Government Native Vegetation Review

By on May 26, 2016

DR ELIZABETH GIBSON, General Manager of the CMPA outlines some of the proposed improvements in the Review of the native vegetation clearing regulations and the comments made by CMPA in its submission.

The Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning has produced a Review of the native vegetation clearing regulations to which CMPA made a submission.
The document is available from http://haveyoursay.delwp.vic.gov.au/native-vegetation-clearing-regulations.

The Review proposes improvements which seek to add further rigour to the already onerous regulations as shown in the table below:

Some of the proposed improvements

Native Vegetation Review Tables

Native Vegetation Review Tables

Additionally, the Review was very qualitative with little quantitative data and relied heavily on some stakeholder wishes (rather than others such as industry needs) with little thought to practicability. Before any increase in rigour of the current regulations is introduced, a thorough regulatory impact statement (RIS) of the current regulations (as requested by CMPA repeatedly over the years) and a RIS for the proposed changes is required.

The following are issues which have been raised in a meeting with DELWP officers who whilst obviously committed to native vegetation were somewhat overzealous over the native vegetation clearing regulations making it unclear whether CMPA comments were understood and being taken into account:

  • The definition of Native Vegetation is different between the Federal Government (50%) and the Victorian Government (25%). This has a huge implication on extractive industry sites.
  • A value needs to be placed on the natural resource (i.e. sand and stone).
  • Reintroduce the exemption for the artificial substrate.
  • The Biodiversity Assessment Guidebook (Sec 9.6.2) for timber allows for offsets to be achieved through regeneration, however, this should be allowed for quarrying.
  • There is no review process to challenge the modelled data for a threatened species at a particular site (other than through VCAT).
  • The 1 Ha for 10 Ha offset is unsustainable.
  • There is an issue of quality and consistency between consultants.

Whilst the need to protect native vegetation in Victoria is thoroughly understood, the CMPA is very concerned with the proposed improvements in that many of them are unbalanced and will increase costs to the extractive industry to the point of making the industry unviable.

Consideration should be given to having a flat rate per Ha for offsets and having DELWP source the offsets.

The full CMPA submission will be made available on the website www.cmpavic.asn.au.

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