NEWS 18 December 2017 |
Andrews Government Response to Statewide Assessment of Crown Land
The Victorian Environmental Assessment Council (VEAC) investigation into how public land was categorised and its values has released its final report. It makes 30 recommendations, often around complex regulatory and legislative arrangements, and sets out a significant reform agenda for crown land legislation. It also importantly identifies gaps in our conservation estate and the need for further investigations. All of the recommendation were accepted; in full, in principle, or in part.
As always though, the devil is in the detail. The recommendations included proposals for 3-5 new investigations by VEAC, including areas currently underrepresented in the protected area estate in South-west Victoria, Strzelecki Ranges and Gippsland Plains, and Central Victoria (which is already underway).
It also includes a proposal for assessment or review of coastal reserves, which is welcome, and a long-awaited new investigation into the comprehensiveness, adequacy, and representativeness of marine protected areas in Victoria.
While the recommendations were accepted by the state government, the marine protected area investigation comes with strings (probably fishing line), which undermine the intent of the recommendation. The government response states: “The review will not include recommendations to expand Victoria’s marine protected area system. It is current government policy that no new marine national parks will be created”.
Victoria has around four per cent of marine waters in marine national parks and sanctuaries; well below international benchmarks.