Threatened birds recommended for listing - Vict. (Aust.)

Subject: Threatened birds recommended for listing - Vict. (Aust.)
From: Lawrie Conole <>
Date: Wed, 01 Oct 2003 10:50:55 +1000
Martin.O'm("","Brien");"> wrote:
The following taxa and threatening process have been recommended for
listing under the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act.  Advertisements
with these and other recommendations have appeared in todays Melbourne AGE
and Weekly Times (Public Notices section) requesting submissions from
interested parties.  The close of submissions is 6 November 2003.

Dear Birding-Aus-ers (and particularly those resident in or near Victoria)

This post is not intended to reflect poorly on Martin, as he does an excellent job with inadequate resources, and deserves our support and praise.  It's intended as a more general comment on our venerable Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (FFG) and the way it is administered/enforced.

The act is intended to (amongst other things) promote the conservation and recovery of threatened species and communities in Victoria.  One of the mechanisms, mandated in the regulations, is that once listed under the Act, species/communities shall have an action plan drawn up to guide the process of conservation/recovery.  Though a total of 43 potentially threatenening processes (PTPs), 95 communities, and 454 flora and fauna species are listed (total 592 listed items since 1988), there are presently only 123 action statements available on the department's FFG web page.  A hit rate of  20%.  As an example, the first PTP listed back in 1988 was "
Loss of hollow-bearing trees in Victorian native forests" - arguably one of the most important PTPs - but there is still no action statement some 15 years later.  Deficiencies such as this make the FFG a rather weak instrument for the conservation of threatened species in Victoria.

Prosecutions under the FFG are almost non-existent in the 15 years that it has operated, despite numerous infringements. 
Deficiencies such as this make the FFG a rather weak instrument for the conservation of threatened species in Victoria.

Unlike the Commonwealth Environment Protection & Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC), the FFG has no obvious referral process.  Referrals of potential impacts happen through the planning process, with the Department of Sustainability & Environment being one of many referral agencies.  It is in this context that the FFG most often gets to flex its muscles, but as no action statements exist for 80% of listed items, the approach to assessing impacts on listed items from any proposed development is inevitably ad hoc.  Thankfully the EPBC provides a safety net for species listed under both acts.

What can you do?  Don't hassle Martin - it's not his fault!  Write to the responsible officer, enquiring why the proportion of action statements completed is so small (and therefore the management/guidance of threatened species and communities supplied by DSE so incomplete), and what strategies DSE have for making up the difference.

Write to:

Dr Adrian Moorrees
Flora & Fauna Branch
Department of Sustainability and Environment
4/250 Victoria Pde. (PO Box 500)
East Melbourne 3002

... and by all means have a look at the public notice that Martin alerted us to, and make comments on the items priposed for listing.  

Cheers, Lawrie

Lawrie Conole
Senior Ecologist
Ornithology & Terrestrial Ecology
Ecology Australia Pty. Ltd.
Flora and Fauna Consultants
88B Station Street
FAIRFIELD VIC 3078 Australia
E-mail: m("","lconole");">
Ph: (03) 9489 4191; Mob: (0419) 588 993
Fax: (03) 9481 7679
ABN 83 006 757 142

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