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New Parks Victoria Act looks to strengthen park management

New Parks Victoria Act looks to strengthen park management
September 18, 2018

New legislation governing the management of Parks Victoria re-creates the organisation as an independent statutory authority while strengthening its role in protecting, conserving and enhance Victoria’s parks and waterways.

Coming into effect on 12th September, the new Parks Victoria Act 2018 amends pieces of legislation to modernise and clarify Parks Victoria’s management responsibilities and provide clear objectives, functions and land management powers integral to efficient and effective operation.

A pivotal change is that Parks Victoria will now have a broad range of direct powers. Previously, the majority of the powers needed to manage Parks Victoria land were held by Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP).

Parks Victoria will continue to report to the Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change and a key delivery component of the new Act will be the preparation of a statewide long-term land management strategy, in consultation with the community and Traditional Owners.

The new Act will help Parks Victoria better protect, conserve and enhance Victoria’s parks and reserves on behalf of all Victorians.

Replacing the former Parks Victoria Act 1998, the new Act makes a big change to the way Parks Victoria is set up – instead of Parks Victoria acting as a service agency to the Government, the new Act re-creates Parks Victoria as an independent statutory authority. Many of our important land management powers are now granted directly to the Board of Parks Victoria instead of being delegated from the Secretary of DELWP.

The Act also contains consequential amendments to other related legislation, like the National Parks Act 1975, the Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978, Land Act 1958, Forests Act 1958, Conservation Forests and Land Act 1987, Water Industry Act 1994 and Wildlife Act 1975.

Under the new Parks Victoria Act 2018, Parks Victoria:

• Takes direct responsibility for most of its powers under land management legislation;
• Has clear functions and objects to support the environment and community;
• Must abide by a Statement of Obligations established by the Minister; and
• Must create a Land Management Strategy by late 2020, setting out the long-term strategies and priorities for Parks Victoria land.

The benefits for Parks Victoria are described as making “it clear that Parks Victoria has the primary responsibility for the protection, conservation and enhancement of Parks Victoria managed land, including its natural and cultural values, for the benefit of the environment and current and future generations.”

The granting of land management powers to Parks Victoria directly increases our accountability for managing public land for the people of Victoria and makes that role clear to the community.

Parks Victoria add “although our legal framework is changing, most of our day-to-day operations will be unaffected and we will continue to work in collaboration with our key stakeholders including our Friends and Volunteer Groups, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and other land management authorities and agencies.”

Image: Halls Gap in the Grampians National Park.

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20th December 2016 - Phillip Island Nature Parks head named new Parks Victoria Chief Executive

1st April 2016 - Distinguished environmentalist appointed to new Parks Victoria role

27th January 2016 - Parks Victoria introduces beach wheelchair at Wilsons Promontory

5th January 2016 - Victoria’s national parks suffer from funding reductions

2nd April 2015 - Parks Victoria encourages planning for Easter visits

24th August 2012 - Private tourism development to be allowed in Victoria’s national parks

1st August 2012 - New appointments for Parks Victoria board

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