Proposed new invasive species management legislation for Victoria

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Author

Jan-Willem de Milliano


Cite this article as:

de Milliano, J-W.  (2013). Proposed new invasive species management legislation for Victoria. Plant Protection Quarterly 28(2), 41.


The Department of Environment and Primary Industries is developing new Invasive Species Management legislation to replace the noxious weeds and pest animal provisions of the Victoria Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994 (CaLP Act) and close the gaps in powers to deal with incursions of taxonomic groups currently not, or only partially, covered by Victoria’s biosecurity legislation.

The CaLP Act covers many aspects of catchment and water management and is the main legislation providing for the management of noxious weeds and pest animals in Victoria. The Minster for Environment and Climate Change and the Minister for Water formally administer the CaLP Act jointly and severally. The Minister for Agriculture and Food Security, through Biosecurity Victoria, is responsible for biosecurity policy and direction setting and for enforcing the noxious weed  and pest animal provisions of the CaLP Act.

Whilst many of Victoria’s key strategies and policies relating to invasive species reflect a modern approach to biosecurity, the CaLP Act has not maintained pace with the breadth and nature of change in the biosecurity sphere.

The expansion of overseas trade and travel, changing land use and demography, as well as changing community preferences and expectations, combined with legislative deficiencies of existing legislation have all contributed to a recognition by Victoria’s Biosecurity Standing Committee and the Minister for Agriculture and Food Security that legislative reform is needed to provide a contemporary approach to the future management of biosecurity threats posed by invasive species.

The proposed legislation is intended to:

  • simplify, standardise and combine invasive species provisions into one comprehensive and enabling piece of legislation;
  • enable the management of invasive species across all the stages of invasion and result in greater alignment to national and state biosecurity policy;
  • remove the existing vacuum in powers to deal with incursions of a range of invasive species currently not, or only partially, covered by Victoria’s biosecurity framework (e.g. certain invasive invertebrate or marine species);
  • enable an integrated approach, which is not constrained by tenure, to manage the serious threats posed by invasive species to the environment, social values, human health and economic activity;
  • introduce provisions to reduce the risks associated with increased movements and trade; and
  • provide a better range of legislative tools to manage the risks posed by invasive species.

The Department of Environment and Primary Industries is developing the proposed legislation through a two-step process. The first step is to develop the primary legislation. Royal assent for the Bill is anticipated within the current term of the Victorian Parliament. To date a conceptual framework for the Bill has been developed and public feedback has been received on the proposal. The second step is to progressively develop, in consultation with stakeholders, relevant subordinate rules and instruments. This step will commence upon receiving Royal Assent for the Bill. Administratively, it is proposed that the Minister responsible for biosecurity policy and direction setting has the administrative responsibility for the proposed legislation.

Further information, including a discussion paper, frequently asked questions and consultation program outcomes, is available at DEPI (2013).

References

DEPI, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (2013) Pests, Dieseases  and Weeds. http://www.depi.vic.gov.au/agriculture-and-food/pests-diseases-and-weeds (accessed 26 August 2013).

First published online: June 24, 2013