_REFORMS TO NATIVE VEGETATION CONTROLS
Amendment VC105 was approved on 20 December 2013 and introduces new native vegetation clearing controls into Victorian planning schemes. This new statewide planning scheme amendment is a major overhaul of the native vegetation planning controls in Victoria.
VC105 amends the following planning scheme provisions.
- Clause 12.01 – amended to reflect a ‘no net loss’ approach which replaces the previous ‘net gain’ approach.
- Clause 52.16 – amended to reflect the intent of the new native vegetation and biodiversity reform package.
- Clause 52.17 – amended to implement a new risk-based pathways approach as defined in Permitted clearing of native vegetation – Biodiversity assessment guidelines.
- Clause 66.02-2 – amended to require applications classified in the ‘high-risk’ pathway to be referred to the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI).
- Clause 81.01 – replaces Victoria’s Native Vegetation Management – A Framework for Action (Department of Natural Resources and Environment, 2002) with Permitted clearing of native vegetation – Biodiversity assessment guidelines (DEPI, September 2013).
The Permitted clearing of native vegetation – Biodiversity assessment guidelines (Guidelines) outline the application, decision making and offset arrangements to meet the requirements of the reformed native vegetation controls. The Guidelines explain the tools that are used to prepare and assess an application for a permit to remove native vegetation in relation to biodiversity considerations only. The principal objective for permitted clearing of native vegetation is “no net loss in the contribution made by native vegetation to Victoria’s biodiversity“.
Transitional arrangements are in place for applications that were lodged before 20 December 2013 and where a planning permit has been issued and the offset requirements specified in the permit conditions have not yet been satisfied.
The new reforms are said to simplify the process for permit applicants and decision makers particularly where the proposed removal of native vegetation is classified as low risk. We will be monitoring the new system closely to judge whether the intent matches the reality.
Further information regarding the new controls can be found at: