Submission to the Review of native vegetation clearing regulations consultation paper

The Minerals Council of Australia Victorian Division (MCA) has been pleased to participate in the Stakeholder Reference Group established to assist the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) to undertake the review of native vegetation clearing regulations (the regulations). 

From the outset, the MCA supported the intent of the Native Vegetation Management Framework when it was developed in 2002.  However MCA has expressed considerable frustration over the inconsistent interpretation and implementation of it since its inception.   Despite a number of reviews spanning the past decade there has been marginal improvement in the functionality of native vegetation clearing regulations.

Unique to the minerals sector is the geological determination of any development.  The industry applies significant effort firstly to avoiding (where possible), mitigating and minimising its impacts and in the continuous improvement of rehabilitation practices.  Because geology determines location it is not always possible to avoid or minimise clearing, and as such the minerals industry is a significant user of offsets.

The key issues surrounding the regulations are its implementation and the availability of offsets. Offsets can be prohibitively expense and not available close to the permitted clearing area or even at all. 

Constraints embedded in the regime result in less than optimal native vegetation and biodiversity outcomes for communities and land users.

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