To: Biodiversity is Everybody's Business
(Consultation draft: Victoria's Biodiversity Strategy 2010 - 2015)

Made: June 2010

EFN represents farmers in Southeast Australia interested in sustainable farming in a social, environmental and economic sense. We represent mostly commercial farmers very concerned about the impact of climate change on farms, people and landscapes, loss of farm biodiversity and the impact of peri-urban development on farming.

EFN have been pleased to be an active participant of The Partnership Development Group, with several members participating in the consultative process over this period of time.
We believe this grouping of environmental NGO's and groups such as ours in the Partnership Development Group has been a useful sounding board throughout the development of this strategy since 2008, and would be happy to continue in the proposed governance model in an ongoing review and advocacy role.
We consider the following issues require further consideration prior to the completion of the "Biodiversity is Everybody's Business" final draft.

1.    This 2010-2015 strategy should be more closely linked to the previous (1997) strategy to avoid the perception of strategy gaps and confusion.
A consolidation of key strategies from both should be clearly conveyed.

2.  The Strategy could be much more explicit in measurable targets and we believe despite the likely reluctance of Government to be locked into clearly measurable specific targets the paper should be far more prescriptive.

3.   There appears to be a lack of attention/recognition to micro organisms and soil health. This is an area that EFN considers important as it also closely relates to sustainable farming practices and our privately owned landscape.

4.  The recognition of diseases spreading as a result of a changing climate and the associated risks should be strengthened.

5.   We endorse the utilization of the Partnership Development Group under an agreed governance model to both monitor progress of the strategy and improve advocacy within the “sector”.

6.  Chapter 03 “Knowledge management” should include the basic message of why ecosystems (and their concomitant biodiversity) are imperatives for human existence.

Thank-you for the opportunity to comment on this important element of policy development.

John Pettigrew : Chair, Environmental Farmers Network.


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