Protecting Victoria’s Environment – Biodiversity 2036

Hi,

Thank you for your contribution to the Draft Protecting Victoria’s Environment – Biodiversity 2036.

Your responses are listed below.

About you

The following questions will help us understand your interest in this process and whether you’re submitting as an individual or part of an organisation

 

The following best describes me:

I am part of a community interest group

 

Please select an option regarding your submission:

This submission is being made by an organisation and I understand that it
will be published, including the name of the organisation.

 

What is the name of your organisation?

Friends of Moonee Ponds Creek

 

Overall thoughts

 

Bearing in mind that we are still working towards a final plan, which of these best describes your overall thoughts on the draft plan?

It is heading in the right direction

 

What are your overall thoughts on the draft plan? (optional)

The draft Biodiversity Strategy is a comprehensive document and the DELWP
is to be congratulated on preparing it to take us forward in better protecting and enhancing Victoria’s natural environment.
The Friends of Moonee Ponds Creek supports the many admirable goals, objectives and principles put forward in the document. Where we have made comments, they can often be applied across a number of sections.
From our particular perspective of the Moonee Ponds Creek corridor, which
encompasses a creek that runs from near original, natural condition as chains of ponds in its upper reaches (Greenvale, Westmeadows), through re-created wetlands (the Tarnuk, Jacana), through a compromised natural environment of concrete channelling and large storm water drains and impacted by road
infrastructure (Strathmore, Moonee Ponds), to a much altered, degraded environment along its lowest reaches towards its junction with the Yarra River at Docklands.
In the Biodiversity Strategy, we would like to see more support for rehabilitation and restoration of more natural environments, enhancement of habitat and biodiversity in situations such as the Moonee Ponds Creek. There are likely many instances, particularly urbanised settings, where rehabilitation and restoration can be called for in widening the Biodiversity Strategy aims.

 

Submission

There are two ways to make a submission. You can upload an existing document (Word, Excel, PDF), or you can answer the questions through this
survey. Please select an option below:

 

Please select an option below:

answer consultation questions

 

The consultation document is divided up into 6 sections. Please select which theme/s you would like to respond to:

Chapters 1-4: Introduction to the plan

Chaper 5: A healthy environment for healthy Victorians

Chapter 6: Linking our society and economy to the environment

Chapter 7: Investing together to protect our environment

Chapter 8: Better, smarter management of our biodiversity

Chapter 9: Biodiversity leadership across government
1. What do you think of the proposed goals and objectives of this plan?

The VISION proposes Victoria’s biodiversity is healthy, valued and actively cared for, however the two Goals leave out the ‘actively cared for’. Suggest Goal 2 be reworded to include this: Goal 2: To ensure that Victoria’s natural environment is healthy and actively cared for.
The proposed goals and objectives appear to concentrate on existing natural environments. The rehabilitation and restoration of degraded environments should also be included, e.g. in cities and towns, with histories of urban development, e.g. the middle and lower reaches of the Moonee Ponds Creek would benefit from strategies and policies that would support restoration of more natural systems, increasing habitat and biodiversity.
Throughout the document, we would like to see the wording ‘protection and enhancement’ used, not just ‘protection’, which indicates just protecting what we presently have, but doesn’t indicate increasing and improving our biodiversity/ natural environments.

 

2. What might they mean for you personally and professionally?

No Answer

 

3. What might they mean for the organisation that you represent?

The goals and objectives of the plan are in keeping with the objectives of the Friends of Moonee Ponds Creek – “To ensure the preservation, restoration, environment protection and ecologically sensitive development and maintenance of the Moonee Ponds Creek and adjoining catchment areas.”

 

4. Do you support the approach to target setting that focuses investment efforts on places in the landscape where the most cost-effective actions are possible?

Not necessarily. Cities and towns are where most of the population are and where education and knowledge about improving natural environments need
focus too … this is almost a pre-requisite to the long-term success of environment actions everywhere.

 

5. What do you think of the principles of this plan? Which ones make sense, which ones do not?

It appears there is a greater emphasis on regional and state-wide environments and biodiversity, yet LOCAL is also important. A case of ‘Think Globally, also act Locally.

 

6. Is this the right mix of principles to guide the plan’s implementation?

– Biodiversity is not a static item. One must allow for not only its protection but also its enhancement. Suggest rewording of Principle 4: Biodiversity protection and enhancement can best be achieved ….
– Principle 10. Decision making may well be fair, transparent, efficient and consistent, but it must also be EFFECTIVE if improvements to biodiversity and our natural environments are to be achieved. Suggest rewording: Our decision-making processes are fair, transparent, efficient, consistent and effective.
– Principle 11, 1st dot point. Missing is historical knowledge, i.e. early and post European settlement provides maps, writings, reports, etc. which could also be considered as a source of knowledge. [ ‘Traditional’ is usually associated with indigenous peoples’ knowledge.] Suggest rewording: We recognise multiple sources of knowledge (e.g. science-based, traditional, historical, community) and make it …

 

7. What principles might be missing from this plan?

Protection and enhancement of natural environments and biodiversity.
Rehabilitation and restoration of degraded environments.
See comments made to other questions.

 

8. What does “nature” and “biodiversity” mean to you? Are these important to you? Why?

Most important as the objections of the Friends of Moonee Ponds Creek (see 3. above) show.

 

9. What does a ‘healthy’ environment look like for you?

No Answer

 

10. What do you think the barriers are that prevent some people experiencing nature and utilising parks and open spaces? What could you, your community or the government do to encourage and provide more opportunities for all Victorians to spend more time in nature, including disadvantaged parts of the community?

No Answer

 

11. How can we raise awareness of biodiversity across the community?

– Need for greater education of, and activities for, young people and adults to understand, appreciate and experience our natural environments and why they should be protected and enhanced.
– Important also to raise the awareness of the importance of the natural
environment, biodiversity and habitat protection and enhancement across the wider community, i.e. with planners, developers, businesses and infrastructure providers through strategic and statutory provisions (state and local government planning schemes and policies).

 

12. What are you currently doing ‘personally and professionally’ to support and create a healthy and biodiverse natural environ=
ment?

The Friends of Moonee Ponds Creek has a long and continuing history of active physical participation in improving the natural environment of the Creek, through plantings, bird and other surveys, creation of biolinks. We also participate in preparation of strategic plans to improve the Creek and peoples’ enjoyment of the Creek and undertake submission regarding strategic, statutory and other development proposals by government and others that impact on the Creek corridor.

 

13. What else do you think you could do to support and create a healthy and biodiverse natural environment? What might help you to do this? What currently hinders you from doing this?
No Answer

 

14. What could businesses do to improve their environmental performance in relation to biodiversity? What might empower them to do this? What currently hinders them from doing this?

Stop treating environmental issues and requirements as things to be avoided because they could negatively impact on their financial gains!
It is not only private businesses that could and should improve their environmental performances. Public businesses should also. For example, VicTrack is a public corporation. VicTrack has extensive land holdings throughout the State, including disused/under-utilised land remaining from previous government rail closures. Privatisation of VicTrack saw their charter include the requirement to maximise the return from any disposal of their assets. This precludes returning land to open space/community use benefitting the natural environment. Thus there should be legislative changes to remove these ‘maximisation of return’ provisions, and for VicTrack to be able to actively consider and implement land disposals that will benefit the community, the environment and enhance biodiversity, provide open space for recreational use.

 

15. In addition to existing government, private and volunteer programs, are there any other ways to help Victorian communities and local government agencies promote and create a healthy and biodiverse natural environment at local and regional levels?

This comment may best be applied elsewhere in the document. It relates to the Draft Strategy page 51 – Creating more liveable and climate-adapted local communities and the Relevant Objective: Improve ecological regimes to best support biodiversity in a changing environment.
Water is important, and will become even more important so with climate change, in promoting a healthy environment and biodiversity at local and regional levels. Every opportunity should therefore be taken at all levels of
government and at private level to capture stormwater and use it to create
swales and wetlands; for the daylighting of existing stormwater drains where possible. Such measures would assist in creating and enhancing habitat, biodiversity and natural environments. It would enable water to be partly purified and lower stormwater run off – with all the detrimental impacts that this entails (and which will be exacerbated with climate change).

 

16. What do you think of the idea to assist business and philanthropic sectors in protecting our natural environment?

Public expenditure on the environment is already far too low. Valuable public moneys should be directly spent by governments on the environment, not by assisting business and philanthropic sectors. These sectors can easily take steps to protect and enhance the environment and claim those expenses through tax deductions. PPPs are totally opposed, as they inevitably allow a component of private commercial/financial benefit (trade offs) at the expense of maximising the public/natural environment benefit.
Experience shows that businesses may be passive when it comes to protecting the environment, but they are active when it comes to protecting their interests and financial gain in the face of environmental requirements.

 

17. Should we consider any other approaches to this issue?

Statutory and strategic state and local planning provisions and policies should be strengthened to require greater environmental protection and enhancement in projects (developments and operations). Compliance should also be strengthened by making provisions mandatory rather than discretionary.

 

18. What do you think of actively introducing species to new locations, or actively mixing genes within populations, as part of adaptation to climate change?

Many of Victoria’s natural environments are currently recovering from past land practices, development and urbanisation – with the help of improved understanding and attitudes and the many environmental programs in place. It is important that these environments be allow to continue to regenerate and recover and their natural ‘development’ not be pre-empted by introducing new species, in the face of climate change.
Consideration could be given to ‘new’ locations, e.g. rehabilitation areas where no conflict between existing and regenerating natural environments could occur. However, what species would be introduced – plants, animals; in isolation or as ecological associations?? What are the implications for existing indigenous/natural environments? Has the science been done? Warning bells ring!
The VicNature 2050 relevant idea no. 6 (cf page 70) – Connect landscapes using climate-ready plants (? where is their ecological associations with insects, birds, other fauna?) could impact on the current programs for protection and enhancement of existing landscapes and the extensive work being undertaken to create biolinks between them.

 

19. How do you think we should address the impacts of feral cat predation on wildlife in areas of high biodiversity value?

Without question, as a priority, implement programs to remove all feral animals that prey on wildlife (cats, foxes, rats, etc) from high biodiversity areas. Programs to address the removal of other feral animals from high biodiversity value areas should also be developed and prioritised (deer, horses, rabbits, goats, etc).

 

20. What does environmental land stewardship mean to you and how might this help you manage the natural environment? Do you think there could be some negative consequences of voluntary environmental land stewardship standards?

No Answer

 

21. What do you think are the appropriate options to use to address the various impacts and drivers of decline?

No Answer

 

22. What type of regional land-use planning approach would you prefer to reconcile the trade-offs required at landscape scale as part of our adaptation to climate change?

No Answer

 

23. What do you think of the proposed approaches overall to manage Victoria’s biodiversity? Which ones do you like and which do you have problems with? Are there any missing?

No Answer

 

24. Where the best opportunities to integrate biodiversity with other on-ground activities? What is the best way to build a participatory community processes to generate ownership of biodiversity outcomes in local areas?

No Answer

 

25. What would you like to see in a Regional Biodiversity Investment Prospectus?

No Answer

 

26. What do you think is the best way to manage and respond to shocks or unforeseen events through the conservation planning process?

No Answer

 

27. Do you have any comments concerning Chapter 9 of the draft plan?

Yes

 

Please provide your comments concerning Chapter 9

We support the (amended) statement that government leadership, demonstrated through consistent (and effective) decision-making, best-practice biodiversity (and natural environment) protection (and enhancement) and regular evaluation of the plan to refine and improve its implementation.
We support the Priority 21 statement: Apply the principles of Protecting Victoria’s Environment – Biodiversity 2036, and embed early consideration of biodiversity and climate change impacts in planning and decision-making processes across government. This includes the importance of embedding the Biodiversity Strategy 2036 and its effective implementation into legislation as recommended in Priority 22. statement.

 

Thanks again

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