Two hundred years of land clearing are leading to extinction. Victoria’s 2018 State of the Environment Report indicated that between 1990 and 2015 native grasslands and herblands have declined by 20% from approximately 2.3 million hectares to 1.8 million hectares.

Victoria’s planning framework is critical to the protection of our environment, intended “to provide for the protection of natural and man-made resources and the maintenance of ecological processes and genetic diversity” (Planning and Environment Act 1987). The Victorian parliament’s Inquiry into the protections within the Victorian planning framework will (fingers crossed) lead to better protections at a time when strengthening such protections is in the interests of all Victorians.

The Grassy Plains Network’s submission to the Inquiry recommends:

  • The planning framework would be well-served by the inclusion of overarching principles that require duty of environmental care.
  • The planning framework needs to emphasise the common good over the rights on individuals.
  • Undertake a review of offsetting within the planning system
  • Build-in environmental protections and biodiversity planning at all scales
  • Ensure planning protections are enforceable
  • Review VCAT to make it more publicly accessible and fair
  • Ensure environmental values on private land are protected over and above the landholders rights to clear vegetation
  • Clearly take the principles of the FFG Act, especially the State’s duty of care to the environment, and foreground them throughout the policies and legislation of the planning system
  • Enable statewide planning for biodiversity to be implemented across all scales, from the single parcel to the regional scale, despite conflicting with the rights of others
  • Consider new types of land use zoning that can facilitate achieving genuine environmental protections

Read our full submission here.