The draft regulations are out and the proposals will make it even harder for farmers and landholders generally. The VFF president has described the draft as 'Instead of real, positive change, the Government is continuing to lumber layers of complexity into the regulations, which is serving only to confuse and frustrate landholders who are trying to do the right thing."
Among many adverse changes a few are worth mentioning: removing an old tree will require specific protection of another old tree, the area available to be cleared under the "simplified" system is falling from 15Ha to 0.5Ha (a 96% reduction), and landholders who clear land will have to revegetate 1.5 times the are of ecological value.
The current regime of ‘off-setting’ native vegetation clearance is unnecessarily expensive, cumbersome and the least effective way in achieving decent environmental outcomes related to small mining activities and clearance of ‘isolated paddock trees’ by farmers. Offsets of up to $95,000/Ha are being demanded on land already degraded by 19th century mining resulting in projects not proceeding and therefore no land rehabilitation.
We therefore call on the Andrews Labor Government to use the Review of Native Vegetation Regulations being conducted by DELWP to recognise the economic and environmental benefits of mining and agriculture to land use and enable rather than block these small scale mining and farming projects.