Minister for Environment and Climate Change Ryan Smith today released the public consultation paper Future directions for native vegetation in Victoria: Review of Victoria's native vegetation permitted clearing regulations giving Victorians a chance to consider and comment on proposed improvements to the system.
"Native vegetation is important for Victoria's biodiversity. It provides habitat for plants and animals and a range of ecosystem services essential for human wellbeing," Mr Smith said.
"Managing native vegetation effectively and sustainably is important. Regulations dating back to 1989 have worked to prevent broad scale clearing of native vegetation in Victoria, and have limited the impact of land use change on biodiversity.
"There has been a succession of reviews and reports into the native vegetation arrangements during the past decade, which have highlighted a range of concerns and areas for improvement.
"It is timely that the Coalition Government undertakes a comprehensive examination of how we can improve the system in order to identify opportunities for better and more targeted environmental outcomes, with reduced regulatory burden and lower costs for the landholder and the community."
Mr Smith said the review would examine the outcomes of earlier investigations to measure whether such recommendations were effectively implemented, and seek community input to drive new improvements.
"We are determined to improve the Coalition Government's performance as an environmental regulator, while enhancing the integrity of the permitted clearing system. This will mean less red tape, more transparent decision making and increased certainly for landholders. Most importantly, it will mean stronger environmental outcomes," Mr Smith said.
"We are now seeking the public's feedback on ways to streamline and improve native vegetation arrangements with greater certainty and clarity."
The Coalition Government will consider the feedback before confirming its preferred approach.
A series of draft documents detailing the technical and implementation changes to the permitted clearing regulations will be released for public comment later in 2012.