Don’t mess with native vegetation laws

The EDO has joined with a large number of other Victorian groups and organisations in calling on the government not to undermine Victoria’s native vegetation laws.

Rumours have been around for a while that changes to clearing controls are imminent were recently corroborated by a report in The Age.   We agree that at the very least the government ought to commit to an open and transparent process in any review of the existing laws.

The accompanying press release quotes me as follows:

Brendan Sydes from the Environment Defenders Office warned against winding back laws designed to protect native plants and animals on private land.

Victoria’s native vegetation retention laws have been developed and refined over many years under successive governments, he said.

These laws are the only Victorian laws that protect plant and animal habitat on private land in Victoria. It’s important that this protection is not undermined by winding back these laws.

This is an important issue for us here at the EDO. We have had first-hand involvement the development of the policy and the accompanying legal framework through our law reform work and through many cases over the years.

While we believe that there is much that could be improved with these laws and their administration, we also think that our system of clearing controls are based on some sound principles that are the result of refinements and improvements by governments of all persuasions since the state wide system was first introduced over 20 years ago.

We’d welcome any opportunity to contribute our expertise to a process of reviewing and improving these laws.

Certainly my experience is that if a credible public process is put in place “stakeholders” of all persuasions can often put their heads together to come up with solutions and refinements that preserve the integrity of the system while also dealing with the problems and issues that inevitably arise as a regulatory scheme evolves.

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