Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the Invasive Species Management Bill?
The Invasive Species Management Bill is a draft piece of new legislation that will be presented to the Victorian Parliament for consideration in late 2014. If approved, the Bill will become an Act of Parliament that will govern the management of invasive species in Victoria.
2. What is the purpose of this discussion paper?
The discussion paper outlines the reasons why a new Invasive Species Management legislation is needed and explains the conceptual framework that will be used to draft the new Bill.
The discussion paper has been prepared to provide stakeholders with a clear picture of what the new Bill is intended to do and how it fits into the existing legislative and policy context.
Stakeholders are being asked to provide written comment on the conceptual framework outlined in the discussion paper to ensure that the new legislation is comprehensive and effective.
3. What is the purpose of the new Invasive Species Management Bill?
The new Bill is intended to:
- simplify, standardise and combine invasive species provisions into a comprehensive, yet easy to understand, enabling piece of legislation
- ensure that there are no gaps in the range of invasive species covered by Victoria's biosecurity legislation
- place the Minister responsible for biosecurity policy in charge of biosecurity legislation
- introduce provisions to reduce the risks associated with increased movements and trade and provide a better range of legislative tools
- result in greater alignment of legislative tools to biosecurity policy, including the approaches to prevention, eradication, containment and management to reduce the impact of invasive species.
4. Will this new Act replace existing legislation?
If approved, this new Act may replace the existing provisions in the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994 that relate to the management of invasive species. Provisions of the Catchment and Land Protection Act that may be repealed include:
- Some sections of Part 3 (Duties of the Secretary and Land Owners);
- Some sections of Part 5 (Land Management Notices);
- Some sections of Part 5A (Priority Area Notices);
- Some sections of Part 6 (Review of Land Use Conditions and Land Management Notices);
- Some sections of Part 9 (General Matters); and
- All of Part 8 (Noxious Weeds and Pest Animals).
5. Why do we need a new Act?
Whilst many of Victoria's key strategies and policies relating to invasive species reflect a modern approach to biosecurity, based on risk management principles as the basis for government involvement, our legislation has not maintained pace with the breadth and nature of change in the biosecurity sphere.
Three Acts provide the primary powers to prepare for, or respond to, a biosecurity incident in Victoria: the Catchment and Land Protection Act, the Livestock Disease Control Act and the Plant Biosecurity Act. These Acts address biosecurity incidents related to invasive plants and animals, animal health and disease, and plant health and disease respectively.
Since the inception of the Catchment and Land Protection Act and the Livestock Disease Control Act and the predecessor of the Plant Biosecurity Act (the Plant Health and Plant Products Act 1995) there have been many changes to the biosecurity environment that impact on the way Victoria manages the threat posed by invasive species.
Some of the most significant changes in the biosecurity environment include: globalisation and expansion of overseas travel and trade; changing land use and demography in rural and regional Victoria; climate change and changing community preferences and expectations.
Deficiencies in prevention and early intervention provisions and gaps in the range of invasive species covered by biosecurity legislation impact on our ability to protect Victoria from the threat of new high risk invasive species.
We need to update our invasive species management legislation and create a flexible operating environment to better manage the risks of invasive species entering, establishing and spreading in Victoria and potentially causing harm to our communities, environment and economy.
Further detail about the reasons for new legislation can be found in the Invasive Plants and Animals Policy Framework, its modules and Chapter 3 of the discussion paper.
6. Will this new Act change the list of declared noxious weeds and/or pest animals?
Under the proposed legislation, declarations of invasive species will be within a simpler, two category system and also no longer made on the basis of catchment management regions. Instead, the legislation would enable declarations to be made in whatever category and scale appropriate to the management of each individual species.
The range of species potentially covered by the proposed legislation will include any invasive terrestrial or aquatic plant or animal (but not those covered by the Plant Biosecurity Act or the Livestock Disease Control Act). As such, it will be possible to declare additional types of species such as invertebrates and fish that are outside the scope of current biosecurity legislation for the first time.
Once the new Act commences, invasive species will need to be declared into the appropriate category. The Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) will undertake further consultation to facilitate this process. DEPI will also continue to provide lists of declared invasive species on its website.
7. How will this new Act affect me?
The new Invasive Species Management Act will be framework legislation and will be outcome based rather than prescriptive. It will provide Government with a range of tools to manage biosecurity risks.
Exactly how the new Act may affect individual stakeholders will depend on individual circumstances. However, it is proposed that the new legislation will contain similar types of regulatory provisions to those under current biosecurity legislation such as the Plant Biosecurity Act or the Livestock Disease Control Act. The new Act will close the gaps in the range of species currently covered by Victoria's biosecurity legislation. The overall intention of the new legislation is to provide greater clarity and certainty about obligations for land and water managers, industries and the community.
The detail of what you need to do to meet your obligations under the Act will mainly be contained in subordinate legislation such as regulations, management plans, guidelines, accreditation systems and codes of practice. In line with the Subordinate Legislation Act 1994 these will be developed with further stakeholder consultation to ensure they do not create an unreasonable burden and are proportionate to the risks that they are managing.
8. What are the timelines for developing the new invasive species management legislation?
The process of developing new invasive species management legislation for Victoria consists of two key steps. The first step is to develop the primary legislation - an Act of Parliament. This step involves:
- the development of a conceptual framework setting out the objective and key concepts of the proposed legislation;
- undertaking public consultation;
- drafting of a Bill;
- consideration and passing of the Bill by Parliament;
- approval of the Bill by the Governor; and
- the setting of a date upon which the Act will come into force.
DEPI is leading the development of the proposed new Invasive Species Management Bill and anticipates that Parliament and the Governor will approve the Bill by late 2014 (upon which it will be referred to as an Act of Parliament).
The development of subordinate legislation, such as Regulations, is the second step in developing new legislation. DEPI will commence developing the required subordinate legislation upon the Governor approving the new Invasive Species Management Bill in late 2014. The development of subordinate legislation is subject to the processes required by the Subordinate Legislation Act 1994, which means that DEPI will be conducting further public consultation with stakeholders, before finalising the legislation.