Environmental Justice Australia has welcomed the release of the Victorian Government’s response to submissions to the review of the state’s biodiversity protection law, the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988, in particular the commitment to retain the Act’s ‘guarantee’.
“The government’s response contains a welcome commitment to maintain the guarantee in the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act, despite earlier suggestions this would be abandoned,” said EJA’s CEO Brendan Sydes.
“The Act’s guarantee that all Victoria’s flora and fauna can survive and flourish in the wild is the foundation of this law – to remove the guarantee would have been to concede defeat on the legislation’s aims.
“Minister Lily D’Ambrosio is to be congratulated for listening to the community and committing to maintain the legislative commitment to protecting native plants and wildlife.
“EJA’s five-point plan for the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act set out why reforms that simply aligned the legislation with the current unsatisfactory approach to threatened species protection in Victoria would not be acceptable.
“Significant reform is needed to fix current problems with threatened species protection in Victoria.
“While we’ll need to scrutinise the detail of reforms carefully once we see them, the government’s response contains welcome signs it has listened to the community on key issues such as the need for listed threatened species to have proper plans to guide their recovery and for much clearer obligations on public authorities to protect biodiversity.
“It remains the case that the Act is in need of substantial renovation to make sure it matches community expectation about protecting Victoria’s threatened species.
“At present there is a big gap between the community’s expectation and real, legislated protection of threatened species.
“We welcome the government’s response as a step towards bridging that gap and look forward to scrutinising the detail of proposed reforms once they become available.”