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SA Native Vegetation Council E-News
News from the SA Native Vegetation Council

December 2014

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New Leader of the Native Vegetation Management Unit


Dear Reader,

It is with pleasure that I introduce myself as the new Manager of the Native Vegetation Management Unit in DEWNR.  I have been working within the Department for two decades, with the majority of my efforts in wetland management across the State and River Murray environmental management.  I was heavily involved in the State's drought response between 2007 and 2011 where we developed innovative plant-based solutions for managing acid sulphate soils, soil erosion and land degradation.  This lead us towards a functional landscape in drought recovery. 

Since beginning my current role in mid-October, I have observed a dedicated team committed to reforming the administration of the Native Vegetation Act and developing opportunities to increase our collaboration of landscape management in the State. 

During the next year we will be focused on transferring some of our functions to each regional Natural Resource Management (NRM) office.  This will strengthen the regional NRM interface with their communities and streamline many processes.  We are also seeking to increase our partnerships with NGOs, Local Governments and industry and in particular consultants who deliver NRM activities.  We plan to hold detailed information sessions regarding the reforms being undertaken and run training sessions which can lead towards accreditation. 

The role of the Native Vegetation Council will also be elevated with our changes in business process during 2015.  The Council is in a unique position to assist us all in promoting and managing native vegetation in the State.  Programs such as Heritage Agreements, Grants and Significant Environmental Benefit Offsets, can deliver exceptional value, especially when partnering occurs. 

I am very interested in how we can improve our service and public value so please contact me on 0429 678 741 if you have suggestions, including ideas around innovation and co-investment for native vegetation outcomes. 

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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. 


The Process

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. 

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New Information on Revegetation under the Act

In the next issue you can expect to read about new information sheets and guidelines to understand how native revegetation is considered under the Act. 

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2015 Native Wildlife Calendar


Friends of Private Bushland are promoting a new year wall calendar of The Natural History Society SA - one of its members.  The Society has a very long record of important conservation work over large areas of private land in multiple locations across SA.  One of those sites is the Moorunde Wildlife Reserve in the Mallee that the Society both manages and maintains. 

Stunning wildlife photos were taken by members at the Reserve for the calendar titled 'Life in the Mallee' including the States' faunal emblem - the Southern Hairy Nosed Wombat.  Proceeds of sales will go toward supporting the work of the Society.  Pre-view and order online http://nhssa.com.au/support-us/items-for-sale/

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Regional and Central Update


In a previous issue we advised of changes underway for the management of native vegetation across the State. 

The changes will enable regions to take a greater role in the management of native vegetation at the local level by integrating native vegetation with other natural resource management programs.  Regions will provide general advice on native vegetation management, manage clearance applications and Heritage Agreements, regional offsetting grants (called SEB Grants) and provide comment on Development Act referrals.  This will enable landholders, organisations and the general public to manage native vegetation matters under the NV Act through their regional NRM Centre. 

Consultation with regional staff and NRM Boards for the development of this distributive model has identified that many regions already undertake some of these roles in formal and informal arrangements.  The distributive model will empower regional staff as the local authority for all natural resources matters including native vegetation. 

State-wide coordination and support of the native vegetation functions will remain centralised.  These will include provision of strategic legislative policy advice, central management of the actual Act and Regulations, production of technical guidelines, maintenance of central statutory registers, management of the SEB Fund, support for the Native Vegetation Assessment Panel and preparation of content for the Native Vegetation Council annual report.  The central unit will also provide support to regions for complex assessments and compliance matters.  The central team is investigating business improvement opportunities to streamline native vegetation processes. 

During the transition, an interim team will provide regional support by processing Native Vegetation Act transactions (i.e. clearance applications, Heritage Agreements etc). 

Further updates will be provided as we progress through the changes.

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Best of the Season to You

It has been a pleasure to have your readership this past year.  It is rewarding to have so many new subscribers.  Feel free to pass on this issue to others.  The Native Vegetation Council and staff of the Native Vegetation Management Unit wish you a joyous Christmas season and look forward to your readership in 2015.