Victorian Volcanic Plains Conservation Management Network

Raising awareness about the value and use of native grasslands, seasonal wetlands, grassy woodlands & other ecosystems on the Victorian Volcanic Plains

EPBC Act and linear reserves

Widening of an existing fire break

Widening of an existing fire break may need a referral

As a follow up from the Linear Reserves Workshops at Teesdale and Lake Bolac here is the presentation entitled Roadside Management and the EPBC Act  link.

I have also included some of the points that I took away from the talk.

  • Look at the landscape over a period of time. Don’t just assess a site after a drought or if it has been flogged by grazing, you need to look at it over time. Plan early if you are undertaking a longer term project. Don’t base your work on one quick look at the wrong time of year
  • It is usually the manager that is chased if something goes wrong not the operator of the machinery unless they have shown wanton disregard for instructions given.
  • It is the action undertaken that impacts on the ecological community or species not the decision. A subdivision may receive approval to go ahead but it is the actual act of the on ground work that will be investigated if the vegetation is protected under the EPBC Act.
  • Lawful and ongoing works do not interest the compliance team. Reinstating an existing table drain, maintaining a firebreak or mowing under power lines is OK unless the work is expanded into a new area, made wider or different machinery is used such as a mulcher is used instead of mower. If firebreaks are older than 3-4 years then they are probably no longer fit for purpose and may need a referral.
  • Managers need to “have buy in” and understand what will be done as part of the project and be able to demonstrate planning to avoid problems, have good processes in place and show continual improvement. If something goes wrong get in early and fill in an incident report about what has happened. Don’t wait for someone else to report the incident.
  • If there is enough evidence and it can be shown that incremental loss has occurred over time by one landholder then they will be investigated.
  • Be mindful that legislation changes, so check the currency of what you think you know. Consider and be mindful of State legislation as well.

 

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