Right now Australian bushland and plant life is under serious threat from state government policy changes that are significantly watering down protection of our native bushland.
Victoria remains Australia's most cleared state, and yet the State Government is making it a whole lot easier to remove native plants.
Destructive policy changes will:
Scientists and community join forces
In a joint statement 105 ecologists and scientists as well as 70 community-based environment groups from across Victoria have expressed fears that new regulations will lead to more land clearing, are based on flawed computer models, will damage threatened species habitat and remove the need to avoid clearing.
In a joint statement they have called on the State Government to go back to the drawing board and create a system that protects the environment.
Will you join them and call on state environment minister Ryan Smith to revise his government's flawed reforms and commit to developing strong native vegetation?
The new regulations have been under development for two years. Almost 80 per cent of the 200 submissions received as part of the consultation process raised these concerns but have been largely ignored.
The joint statement echoes concerns from the Victoria's independent Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability, in the recently released 2013 state of the environment report, which recommended that the proposed native vegetation regulations be amended.
A radical overhaul
The Victorian Government's radically overhaul of the state's native vegetation clearing rules is a move away from regulations that encourage avoidance of native vegetation clearance and towards policies geared at allowing increased bushland clearing and 'offsetting'.
'Offsetting' is used to describe a situation where someone clearing native vegetation is required to 'make up' for the environmental damage caused by that clearing.
In the wake of these new reforms there has been strong concern expressed by environment groups, native vegetation policy users such as local government and experts, about fundamental changes to the policy, particularly around measures to streamline clearing process.
There was a round of consultation in early 2013, but most of the concerns raised have been ignored in the final regulations.
The new regulations are expected to become law in September 2013.
The latest information on the status of the new regulations is available on the Department of Primary Industries & Environment website.
The new rules are based on questionable datasets and maps. Some of the issues are described in our issues paper.
We urgently need a stronger approach to protection our native plants and habitats. Please donate now to help fight for stronger native habitat protections.
Rich in habitat
Victoria has around 3000 species of native plants and trees which form over 300 habitat types. All of which are home to 700 types of native animals, not to mention thousands of varieties of invertebrates and fungi.
Victoria is the most cleared state in Australia. After 150 years of land clearing, invasive feral species, the carve-up of habitats, and now the escalating impact of climate change, our natural habitats are on their knees.
On private land alone eight out of every 10 hectares of native plants are gone.
Around the Riverina, Wimmera, the Volcanic Plains and part of the Mallee 84% of the native vegetation is gone.
Around the Melbourne region, we've lost about 71% from private and public land.
Money really does grow on trees
Native vegetation is not just a home for animals, it provides a whole range of services to our communities, including clean water, protecting soils, storing carbon, helping with pollination and providing people with inspiration and interest in the landscape.
Various studies have indentified that these services are worth many millions of dollars.
What you can do
Email environment minister Ryan Smith asking him to to retain strong native vegetation rules.
| State of Decline: Habitat Trends and Native Vegetation in Victoria|
Reconnecting the landscape
| VEAC native vegetation report|
Media release: VEAC report provides blueprint Baillieu Government