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UDIA Industry Briefing Biodiversity Conservation Strategy - 3 June 2013


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The strategies, the first of their kind under the strategic assessment process under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), provide an overarching strategy for the long-term protection and management of biodiversity throughout Melbourne's Growth Areas. The team at Ecology and Heritage Partners have actively contributed to the preparation of the various documents on behalf of DEPI and the Growth Areas Authority over the past 4 years.

The final Strategies address all relevant matters of national environmental significance (NES) protected under the EPBC Act and matters of State significance. It will ensure the long-term protection of biodiversity in the growth areas and sets out all the conservation measures required to satisfy the commitments to the Commonwealth Government made as part of the Melbourne Strategic Assessment and to meet State requirements.

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UDIA Industry Briefing Biodiversity Conservation Strategy - 3 June 2013

  1. 1. UDIA – Vic3 June 2013Aaron Organ – Director / Principal EcologistAdelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, GeelongPh. (03) 9377 0100 Mob. 0425 873 159
  2. 2. Melbourne’s Biodiversity ConservationStrategy Outstanding Questions Actions / considerationsReforms to Victoria’s Permitted VegetationClearance Regulations Overview
  3. 3. 6 The BCS removes the prescriptions (singleenvironmental approval) Avoids duplication of assessment process underthe EPBC Act and State (reduced timelines) Cuts down on information costs and administrativeburden Offset obligations and their cost are now knownupfront State Government administers the cost recoveryprocessBenefits for the Development Industry
  4. 4. 7 Identification of ecological values via broad scale surveysand assessments over the past 4 years Protection and future management of highest qualityconservation areas (e.g. western grassland reserves) Early consideration and mitigation of cumulative impacts(avoid short-sighted decisions and focusing on broaderoutcomes) Creation of additional habitat (e.g. Growling Grass Frog) GSM habitat outside of the Growth Boundary to reach80% protectionImproved Biodiversity Outcomes
  5. 5. 8 Reduced need for further ecological assessmentsand vegetation offset brokers (simple tounderstand flat offset fee) Scrutiny by SEWPaC to ensure implementation ofthe BCS is meeting Cwth conditions High level of scrutiny also from the Office of theAuditor General to ensure program efficiency andaccountability If costs are found not to be as high as predictedthen offset costs can be reduced. Equally if costsare insufficient they can increase Land transfer option for designated conservationareas in the BCS to reduce offset liabilityCost Recovery
  6. 6. ECOLOGICAL VALUES PRICE UNITAPPLICABLE GROWTH AREAW NW N SENative vegetation $95,075 Per hectare of native vegetation removed ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓Scattered Trees $13,218 Per tree considered removed ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓Matted Flax-lily $11,196 Per hectare of native vegetation removed - - ✓ -Spiny Rice-flower $7,937 Per hectare of native vegetation removed ✓ ✓ - -Golden Sun Moth $7,914Per hectare of non-native vegetationremoved, excluding areas identified asCategory 2 Growling Grass Frog habitat✓ ✓ ✓ -Growling Grass Frog $7,529Per hectare of non-native vegetationremoved, identified as Category 2 habitat✓ ✓ ✓ ✓Southern Brown Bandicoot $4,015Per hectare of native and non-nativevegetation removed- - - ✓Striped Legless Lizard $350Per hectare of native and non-nativevegetation removed, where vegetationhas been identified as habitat for StripedLegless Lizard (based on a site-specificassessment by an ecologist)✓ ✓ ✓ -Note: W = Western growth area (Melton and Wyndham); NW = North-western growth area (Sunbury); N = Northern growth area (Hume, Whittlesea and Mitchell);SE = South-eastern growth area (Casey and Cardinia).
  7. 7.  Habitat Compensation◦ Are there any appeal rights associated with Work in Kind(negotiated outcome, timely)?◦ In what situations would areas avoided (i.e. not developed)lead to a reduction in the offset liability?◦ Who would be responsible for the management of retainedareas outside of the reserves proposed in the BCS (Council)?◦ Is there any scope to reduce / negotiate a reduction in the30% total offset obligation?◦ Does the owner have an obligation to manage the land as aconservation area?
  8. 8.  Golden Sun Moth offsets◦ 7 areas where surveys were undertaken inaccordance with the prescriptions. Can eitherthe prescriptions or BCS be used, or only theprescriptions?◦ Can other landowners be exempt from thestandardised flat-fee if surveys were completedprior to 1 March 2012? (pg. 21 of the SRSS)
  9. 9.  Growling Grass Frog offsets◦ Is an offset required for the disturbance ofCategory 1 GGF habitat if disturbance is as aresult of habitat creation?◦ Is there flexibility regarding Works in Kindassociation with GGF habitat creation?◦ Will there be an opportunity to review andcontribute to the ‘GGF ImplementationMasterplan’ for the network of Category 1habitat?
  10. 10.  Large Old Trees and scattered remnanttrees◦ What are the additional incentives for theprotection of Large old trees and scattered treesduring the PSP process?◦ Is the offset rate of $13,218/tree consistentacross all tree age classes?◦ Council’s involvement and jurisdiction (local treeprotection policies)◦ Other opportunities for the protection andreservation of natural areas for conservation(local council reserves)
  11. 11.  Submission to SEWPaC over the next 1-2 weeks Provide feedback to DEPI on Habitat CompensationDocument on the cost recovery process Review and respond to the Land Acquisition Strategyand GGF Masterplan – when released Review the Deloitte Access Economics Report Submissions on the SBB SRSS – if possible? Determine Habitat Compensation liability, Staged andDeferred Payments, and Works in Kind Conservation area and GGF corridor boundaryrefinement during PSP process (e.g. areas 18, 27, 28,31, 32, 33)
  12. 12. 21Created Growling Grass Frog HabitatBundoora - 2003
  13. 13. 22Created Growling Grass Frog HabitatBundoora - 2004
  14. 14. 23Created Growling Grass Frog HabitatBundoora - 2005
  15. 15. 24 The Government has gone a long way in understanding andaccommodating the industry’s concerns ‘Public Consultation Report of Findings’ – excellent transparency All conservation measures funded through cost-recovery anddependent on the rate of development In future no further reserves required inside UGB – what are theincentives for avoidance and protection of additional areas What are the likely planning permit conditions under the zoningschedule How long until the Land Acquisition Strategy and Works In KindAgreement Extremely proud of the work undertaken over the past 4 yearsConclusion
  16. 16.  The four priority reforms are:◦ Clarify and amend the objective of the permitted clearingregulations◦ Improve how the biodiversity value of native vegetation isdefined and measured◦ Improve decision making◦ Ensure offsets provide appropriate compensation for theenvironmentFive supporting reforms will also be implemented:◦ Define state and local government regulatory and planningroles◦ Better regulatory performance◦ Improve offset market functionality◦ New approaches to compliance and enforcement◦ Continuous improvement program
  17. 17.  ‘No Net Loss’ compared with ‘Net Gain’ Risk-based Assessment Pathways (Low, Moderate,High) Online tools:◦ Native vegetation extant◦ Native vegetation condition◦ Connectivity◦ Species habitat distributions◦ Species habitat importance models◦ Strategic biodiversity value Flexibility with vegetation offsets
  18. 18. LocationExtent* Location A Location B Location C< 0.5 hectares Low Low High≥ 0.5 hectares and< 1 hectareLow Moderate High≥ 1 hectare Moderate High HighLocationExtent* Location A Location B Location C< 15 scattered trees Low Moderate High≥ 15 scattered trees Moderate High High
  19. 19. Aaron OrganDirector / Principal Ecologist0425 873 159Adelaide - (08) 8372 7829 / Brisbane – (07) 3221 3352Geelong – (03) 5221 8122 / Melbourne – (03) 9377