Environment Victoria has welcomed a renewed focus on nature protection by the Andrews Government on the release of its draft blueprint Protecting Victoria’s Environment- Biodiversity 2036 late last week.
“Victoria is facing a biodiversity crisis, and climate change is already impacting on our rivers, forests and coasts,” Environment Victoria Campaigns Director Nick Roberts said today.
“This draft strategy is a good first step, but the true test will be a strong legislative framework for protecting nature and how much funding the final plan receives in the next Victorian budget and beyond.
“It is encouraging that the draft plan highlights potential new focus areas for government including valuing the natural capital provided by nature, such as health benefits, carbon sequestration and water purification. The goals in the draft plan of healthy natural environments and rivers, and reconnecting Victoria’s fragmented natural environment are critically important given Victoria’s history of native vegetation and habitat loss.
“However, there will be two key tests for the Andrews government commitments to reverse the decline of biodiversity in Victoria. The first is the need for strong Victorian environmental laws to guide community expectations and conduct in relation to protecting biodiversity. The current government reviews of native vegetation clearing laws and the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act will be critical to addressing Victoria’s biodiversity crisis.
“The second test will come in future budgets. Without significant new funding for nature protection programs and new biodiversity initiatives with legislative support in the final Plan, opportunities will be lost and our unique natural environment will continue to degrade.
“It will be critical that the Andrews Government’s biodiversity plan informs and strengthens other policies under development, such as the Water for Victoria discussion paper released this week.”
Nick Roberts, Environment Victoria Campaigns Director,
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