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Thursday, November 24, 2005

Non-forest vegetation -

Non-forest vegetation - Judy Jackson, MHA - Tasmanian Government Media Releases

Widespread consultation with Tasmanian farmers will occur over the next few months on a legislative framework to protect the State?s threatened non-forest vegetation.

The proposed legislation, required by the Tasmanian Community Forest Agreement signed by the Tasmanian and Australian Governments in May, will build on the existing regulatory framework for threatened forest communities under the Forest Practices system.

The existing system for threatened forest communities and the new provisions for threatened non-forest communities have been combined in the proposed legislative package to form an integrated system for all threatened native vegetation communities.

This system includes a mechanism for formally listing threatened communities under the Nature Conservation Act and provides a regulatory framework for controlling clearance and conversion of threatened communities under the Forest Practices Act. The listing of threatened species or threatened communities will be the responsibility of the Environment Minister.

Parliamentary debate on the framework will not occur until next year to enable full consideration of matters raised by the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association and the rural community.

Environment and Planning Minister Judy Jackson said that the State Government acknowledged the significant efforts of the TFGA to ensure that the framework was not burdensome on primary producers and that farmers were widely consulted before final decisions were made.

In recognition of the TFGA concerns the draft Bill, introduced into the Tasmanian Parliament today, is be based on a minimum of regulation and will prescribe circumstances where compensation may be payable to land-owners.

The TFGA has requested an extension to the deadline for tabling the legislation in Parliament to enable effective consultation. ?We have not been able to reach agreement with the Australian Government on an extension,? Mrs Jackson said.

?To enable as much opportunity for consultation as possible, we will table the draft legislation this year and make any amendments that are needed as a result of stakeholder consultations over the next few months.?

Consultation with farmers and other stakeholders will continue until the end of February next year.

Any necessary amendments can then be collated, and introduced when the Bill is debated in April.

As already announced, the framework will not be administered by local government. Approvals under the new framework will be administered by the Forest Practices Authority.

This initiative is part of the State Government?s commitment to progressing Tasmania Together Goal 1: ?Ensure all Tasmanians have a reasonable standard of living with regard to food, shelter, transport, justice, education, communication, health and community services.?


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