Regulations Review Underway
The Native Vegetation Act 1991 (the Act) and Native Vegetation Regulations 2003 (the Regulations) provide the legislative framework to regulate the clearance of native vegetation and prevent an overall reduction in coverage and quality of native vegetation in the State. The Act also provides for exemptions via the Regulations that allow for clearance of intact native vegetation in certain circumstances.
The history of Regulations can be traced back to 1997. Significant amendments to the Regulations have occurred over time resulting in an increase in the number and complexity of exemptions to enable clearance of native vegetation in South Australia. The Regulations of 2014 are now complicated to interpret and administer.
Certain Regulations expire after 10 years and require review (within upto 4 years). The 10 year expiry for the Native Vegetation Regulations occurs in 2014. This provides an opportune time to improve them.
The aim of the current review is primarily to focus on opportunities for streamlining the implementation of native vegetation clearance exemptions by simplifying the Regulations themselves and/or the process for adminstering them. Stakeholder consultation is being conducted to ensure improvements are practical and meaningful.
Review of the Regulations is being conducted in four stages:
Stage 1 - Examining intent of the Regulations. This is largely completed where a simplified version of the intent of the existing Regulations has been drafted for comment by significant stakeholders as a starting point for drafting revised Regulations.
Stage 2 - Examine 'processes' for administration. Using the new draft Regulations, comments from important stakeholders will be sought on the policies, processes etc. that underpin administration, with suggestions for streamlining and improving them.
Stage 3 - Wider consultation. In this stage broader community consultation with the 'revised' intent of the Regulations and improvements to underpinning policies and processes will be sought.
Stage 4 - Parliamentary process. This final stage involves Ministerial approvals and gazetting.
In all, the process is expected to be completed by June 2016. Stakeholders can expect to be engaged via print and electronic media notifying them of details.