HomeLocal GovernmentMurrindindi ShireMurrindindi Shire raise concern of illegal clearing of native vegetation

Murrindindi Shire raise concern of illegal clearing of native vegetation

From the tallest of Eucalypts to the smallest of ground covers and all the shrubs, herbs, grasses and trees (living and dead) in between, native vegetation is protected by Victorian law.

Whether it’s on private property or public land, in most cases a Murrindindi Shire Council Planning Permit is required to remove, destroy or lop native vegetation.

Councillor Rebecca Bowles said permits are required under the State Government’s planning laws because native vegetation is an essential part of biodiversity.

“Biodiversity is the foundation of all life. It determines how healthy all parts of the environment are, including: animals, insects, soil, water, waterways, catchments and oxygen. It provides a safe way for native animals to move around, a secure habitat for them to live and breed in and is an important food source for them. Native vegetation also provides shelter for stock,” Bowles said.

“Did you know that, compared to other states and territories, Victoria has lost the most native vegetation since European settlement? We have less than half of the native vegetation we once had. In stark contrast, our communities repeatedly rank our natural environment as one of the things they love most about Murrindindi Shire.

“We understand that many landowners have a genuine need to do some clearing, particularly in areas of fire risk. However, the Victorian Government’s legislative framework around this is complicated and it’s best to chat with Council first to clarify the rules. Where clearing is permitted, often an offset is required elsewhere to help maintain our biodiversity. This might include planting or protecting other native vegetation.

“Recently there has been an increase in the number of cases of illegal clearing of native vegetation on private land throughout the Shire and this is a real concern. Council is investigating these issues and will be taking further action as appropriate.

“Clearing of understory scrub, excessive clearing of fence lines, cutting new tracks and ‘tidying up the bush’ are common examples of the illegal clearing which Council officers take enforcement action on,” Bowles said.

“To preserve the environment and protect biodiversity in Murrindindi Shire, each and every one of us needs to appreciate the vital and irreplaceable role that native vegetation plays. We all need to take responsibility for the fact that our patch of land is part of a shared environment. What we do on our land has a lasting impact. Regulating the removal of native vegetation through permits is essential to managing biodiversity in our beautiful shire.

“We are really stepping up our focus on compliance, so before cutting down trees or clearing your block, be sure to touch base with Council’s Planning Unit. It’s better to be on the front foot than the back foot after all! The Planning Unit is more than happy to provide advice on allowed clearing works, the necessary permits and what native vegetation offsets may be needed to replace your cleared vegetation,” Bowles said.

You can reach Council’s Planning Unit on 5772 0333 or drop them a line at planning@murrindindi.vic.gov.au

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