|Description of this FunctionDescription of this Function|
The first legislation to protect native plants and flowers was introduced in 1930 as a result of community (naturalists associations etc.) agitation for a means to stop "tourists" from removing plants and flowers from public and land which was seen to be resulting in the extinction of indigenous plants.
Under the legislation specific plants proclaimed by the Governor in Council were protected and periods of protection could be specified or left unlimited. Provision was made for licences to pick plants for scientific purposes to be approved by the Minister on the recommendation of the Forests Commission. Rangers and honorary rangers policed the provisions of Act.
More general management and conservation of native plants was also undertaken by a range of government agencies as part of the exercise of their substantive duties. These agencies included the National Parks Authority/Service (VA 549), the Victorian Forests Commission (VA 534), the Department of Crown Lands and Survey (VA 538); and the Land Conservation Council (VA 1410).
Reforms after 1988
In 1988 the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act was passed with the purpose of establishing a legal and administrative structure to enable and promote the conservation of Victorias native flora and fauna. The objectives of the Act were:
to guarantee the survival, flourishing and evolutionary development of flora and fauna in the wild
to conserve communities of flora
to manage potentially threatening processes
to ensure any human use was sustainable
to ensure that the genetic diversity is maintained
to provide programs of community education
to encourage co-operative management
to assist and give incentives for the conservation of flora.
The carrying out of the functions of the Act was to be achieved by the establishment of a unit in the relevant Government Department and the establishment of the Scientific Advisory Committee. The Committee consists of three senior government scientific officers, two scientists from a Victorian educational institution and two scientists not employed in Government. The Committee members are required to have expertise in a range of areas specified in the Act. The role of the Committee is to consider nominations for the addition of threatened species , communities and potentially threatening processes. The Committee provides advice to the Minister on these nominations and other conservation matters. The Act also gave the Land Protection Council, Land Protection Regional Advisory Committees and the Conservation Advisory Committee the right to provide advice to the Minister with regard to the Act.
The responsible officer is obligated to prepare a Flora and Fauna Guarantee Strategy with drafts to be publicised for public comment and submissions. Determinations of critical habitats may be made, though locations may be withheld. The officer also has the right to prepare management plans for the protection of potentially threatened species with notice having to be publicly given. The responsible officer may also enter into Public Authority Management Agreements with public authorities for the management of any community of flora or any threatening process. Interim Conservation Orders may be issued for the conservation of critical habitats. Appeals against any of these could be made to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and , from 1998, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
If flora are declared to be protected species, a licence is required for the taking, trading in, keeping, moving an processing of the flora. Penalties may be imposed for the taking of any of these actions without licence or permit.