The draft Assessment guidelines and the proposed changes to the VPP have been developed to improve the way the regulations work. Do you think the proposed changes will help achieve this?
The biggest fault with the existing regulations is their inability to meet the target of No Net Loss of Native Vegetation. Practically all clearing (>90%) done is via exemptions or illegally. Elegant (though commendable) modifications to assessment guidelines which are applied to the remaining few percent will have no impact on this massive net loss.
Are you aware of any issue that may impact on implementation of the proposed changes?
Very broad exemptions combined with lax policing and prosecution of illegal clearing will keep permitted clearing in its box: completely irrelevant to all of Victoria except urban development zones.
Are there any other areas that need further guidance or clarification in addition to those outlined in the draft Assessment guidelines?
Permitted clearing (+ assessment guidelines) needs to be pushed from obscurity to largely displace illegal clearing & clearing via exemptions. This would require significant state government commitment to support local government and encourage off-set providers.
Are there any other words or terms used in the Assessment guidelines that should be included in the glossary?
These documents are the product of significant investment by government and community. They are as good as they could be at present.
Now they need to be implemented, not ignored or bypassed, as they have been for many years.
The aim of No Net Loss needs to be taken seriously. All losses and gains must be accounted for. Gains can only be made by promoting permitted clearing & offsets while suppressing those clearing activities which are not offset. It would be a big task.
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