Presentation on theme: "Does effective policy change require a change in culture? Some observations from the South Australian native vegetation management program Tim Dendy Manager,"— Presentation transcript:
Does effective policy change require a change in culture? Some observations from the South Australian native vegetation management program Tim Dendy Manager, Sustainable Landscapes, DWLBC June 2007 Photos: J Quarmby, P Lang, J van Weenen – provided by P Copley, Senior Ecologist, DEH Cartoons: Tim Dendy
Initial challenge Incentives & disincentives Legislation change The need for new initiatives Observations will cover
Initial challenge 1970s – general concern about the pace of land clearing
1970s – Land degradation evident Initial challenge
1970s – Native plants and animals at risk Pterostylis cucullata Delmar impar057 Swamp antechinus Caladenia woolcockiorum EP Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoo Mallee fowl
1970s: > 75% of Agricultural Regions cleared The publication of this map appeared to be the key tool in raising awareness and general support for action. Initial challenge
1980 – Voluntary Heritage Agreement/incentive scheme – interim measure Native vegetation proposed for clearance assessed for its significance Landholders encouraged to not clear significant areas Incentives (or removing disincentives) provided: relief from local and state government rates and charges fencing subsidies grants for management of native vegetation management advice New legal agreement tool – heritage agreements The first agreement mechanism binding successors in title to positive management actions Provided security for government investment in off-park conservation actions Incentives
Was there a change In culture? 1980 – Voluntary Heritage Agreement/incentive scheme – interim measure Challenges Program unsuccessful in stemming the rate of clearance 190 applications to clear assessed: only 5 applied for a heritage agreement only 3 entered into a heritage agreement Incentives not sufficient to change behaviour of people wanting to clear land Positives Program popular with many landholders – particularly in rural/urban fringe – large number of applications Heritage Agreements paved the way for use of ‘conservation covernants’ across the country Generally accepted that incentives needed to be supported by controls Incentives
1982 – New government sought introduction of controls within six months of election. 1983 - Clearance controls first introduced Clearance prescribed as a change of land use – required approval of SA Planning Commission Introduced overnight – no consultation – aim to avoid panic clearing Legislation
Challenges Significant increase in applications to clear Perverse outcome – landholders advance clearing program Approval – 50% of area applied for – I.e. clearing rate increased Initial significant adverse reaction from farming sector – particularly concerned about lack of compensation Controls could only stop clearing – could not require management. Significant resources required to manage unforseen number of applications Positives General bipartisan political acceptance that controls needed SA Farmer organisation cooperated with Government to develop new legislative controls 1983 – Planning controls Was there a change In culture?
1985 – Native Vegetation Management Act Controls tightened – no link to planning legislation Decision based on value of native vegetation Right to payment (compensation) if land placed under a Heritage Agreement (loss in value of the land) – aim to not set a precedent under planning legislation Decisions by a 5 member authority Included representation from farmer and conservation interest groups Legislation
1985 – Native Vegetation Management Act Legislation Challenges Approx $80 m spent on payments 1985 – 1991 (budgeted for approx $15m) Some landholder concern that less land approved for clearance Some concern that heritage agreements not ‘voluntary’ – concern for future management Positives General SA Farmer organisation and bipartisan political acceptance for legislation SA Farmer organisation recognises the need to manage retained native vegetation Was there a change In culture?
1991 - present – Native Vegetation Act Controls tightened Decision (7 member council) based on value of native vegetation for: biodiversity conservation controlling land degradation and water quality amenity Proposed land use required to be sustainable Payments (compensation) no longer a right From 2002 Council may not approve clearance of broadacre native vegetation clearance to be offset by a significant environmental benefit Exemptions expanded to allow greater flexibility (inc broadacre native vegetation) From 2004 Initiative introduced: building better relationships with landholders to achieve improved biodiversity outcomes Recognise that to improve biodiversity - need to also increase farm income Supported by admin and legislation change Legislation
Was there a change In culture? 1991 - present – Native Vegetation Act Legislation Challenges recent desire for ‘sea change’ has resulted in significant pressure from developers to relax the controls Conservation interests concerned – too much clearance possible continued biodiversity loss: offsets may not result in better biodiversity outcome; short-term loss expected monitoring and compliance needs adequate resourcing Positives General support from farmers and mining sectors Offsets arguably provides a system that at least reduces the conflict between development and conservation outcomes assist in holding the line against future loss of biodiversity potential environmental gain
So the question remains - have we changed culture through these policy initiatives?
YES – there has been progressive support for biodiversity conservation initiatives
Do we need to do more? Perceived pressures on biodiversity if only rely on controls Focus of clearance controls and reserves system– holding the line Focus of other initiatives Eg nature links Recovery of extinction debt
What can we do to accelerate landscape scale effort? Encourage and support further cultural change biodiversity valued by all sectors as an asset business opportunities for biodiversity management look for innovative solutions, partnerships, collaboration multiple benefits Supported by: sustainable source of funding knowledge – how best to restore ecosystem function planning – where best to restore (regional NRM planning) new tools & policy options – legal instruments etc legislative support The need for new tools
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