July 2006

Actions from an Executive Meeting July 3rd 2006

  • Waterway Management Policy to be developed and added to the Water Policy.
  • Draft policies on Chemicals, Wind Farms and Farm Forestry to be developed.
  • Sustainable water supplies. Opinion piece on appropriate Government procedures needed for sustainable urban and rural water supply to be drafted, finalised and distributed to media. This document would outline the preferred process leading to decisions on allocations and delivery of water throughout the State of Victoria. This process would be used before any decisions are made changing current water supply arrangements.
  • Membership. All members and associates are encouraged to either suggest persons likely to be interested in joining EFN to the Secretary or approach them directly. We need more members to be a viable organisation.   Secretary to approach philanthropic organisations for funding to further develop our website and market our organisation.
  • Impact of water trading on rivers. A submission has been made to the Productivity Commission Investigation of "Rural Water Use and the Environment: The Role of Market Mechanisms" outlining our concern that current water trading arrangements do not factor in the environmental impact that trading has on our rivers.
  • A letter was sent to the Victorian Minister for Environment and DSE outlining our concerns about cattle grazing in Barmah Forest. We also urged the Minister to fast track the development of a Forest Management Plan/Strategy.

New Victorian Government programs for sustainable land management

The Victorian Government Environmental Sustainability Action Statement 2006. (ESAS) was recently released and follows the 2005 Sustainability Framework. It outlines 150 actions that will reduce Victoria's environmental footprint. It recognises that Victoria is a big user of energy and we need to reduce our Greenhouse gas emissions and domestic and industrial waste generation.

Objectives include healthy and productive land and water systems, sustainable forests, flourishing biodiversity in healthy ecosystems, clean air, reduced climate impact, increased water and energy savings, less waste and increased resource efficiency. The State Government intends to develop a White paper on Land health and Biodiversity by 2008.

Market Based Instruments (MBI) will play a large part in changing the way we do things. This is particularly so for environmental programs on farms. MBI's such as Bush Tender, Habitat Tender and the Victorian Volcanic Plains Tender will be used to deliver a wider range of environmental services (eg salinity abatement, waterway health, farm forestry). Trials to date show that tender systems deliver far greater outcomes than previous environmental incentives.   MBI's will help create a level playing field where ecosystem services are valued for what they produce. Check the DSE website ( ) for more detail.

Your Secretary's experience with Bush Broker

I recently registered our farm interest in the Bush Broker Scheme. This is a MBI that provides equivalent vegetation offsets where landholders/government departments and other agencies need to clear native vegetation in the course of conducting their business. I found the process to date has been conducted in an efficient and informative way by DSE Staff. Following the registration of interest an officer arranged for an inspection. The vegetation was assessed in terms of Habitat Hectares and Ecological Vegetation Class and the Officer discussed our objectives and management intentions. This is considered in assessing whether and how the site will be placed on the registry.

If you are in a position to register part of your property and are happy that the work you are doing is to provide an offset for someone to clear similar vegetation at another site then I can recommend the process as user friendly, educational and efficient. The likelihood of a trade depends on normal market factors such as the price you offer, rarity of   EVC, amount of vegetation that requires clearing of the EVC's that you manage etc.

Next meeting of the Executive is proposed for September by telephone conference. Any agenda items can be raised lodged with the Secretary at any time prior to the meeting - no date fixed yet.

We plan to have regular newsletters and any contributions will be considered for inclusion.

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