MEDIA RELEASE 17 March 2016 |

A blueprint for protecting nature released by the Victorian Government today is a step in the right direction, but the state’s natural environment needs major new investment if it is to flourish into the future.

“It’s almost 20 years since there has been a formal conservation or biodiversity strategy for Victoria,” Victorian National Parks Association executive director Matt Ruchel said today.

“For far too long state governments have neglected the management of Victoria’s natural environment. The release today of a new draft conservation plan, Protecting Victoria’s Environment – Biodiversity 2036, represents a step in the right direction by the Andrews Government.

“There are some great ideas in the draft plan, and the government deserves credit for taking leadership on nature conservation, but without new, significant resources to back up the plan our unique natural areas will continue to decline.

“Environmental programs and our national parks and reserves have all suffered severe cuts over recent years. We now need an entirely new approach to managing and resourcing conservation in Victoria. It is after all not just our home, but also the home of a unique array of native plants and animals.

“We welcome the Andrews Government’s new blueprint for nature as the first step in making Victoria a national leader in biodiversity protection.”

The development of a statewide biodiversity strategy was an election commitment of the Andrews Government in response to the substantial and continuing decline of Victoria’s native plants and animals. The draft plan includes 22 priorities to deliver on the proposed goals, but more detail is required on the actions and potential targets.

The VNPA has also welcomed the release of a review into native vegetation clearing regulations, but sees room for significant improvement with many aspects of native vegetation regulations including accurate mapping, the obligations of public authorities, assessment techniques and a range of other issues.

“Keeping remaining native habitat and bushland intact is critical to the long-term survival of Victoria’s unique plants and animals, and strong regulation of clearing is critical to achieving that goal,” Mr Ruchel said.

Victorians are being encouraged to have their say on the new draft plans: