WALGA undertakes both policy and projects covering a range of environmental issues, creates awareness about specific environmental issues and provides resources to support Local Government Officers and Elected Members.

Key Policy Areas and Projects

Current Issues

Draft Biodiversity Conservation Regulations and Ministerial Guidelines - Local Government Briefing

The Western Australian Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (BC Act) will replace the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 (WC Act) and Sandalwood Act 1929 when it is fully proclaimed. Biodiversity Conservation Regulations (BC Regulations) are currently being developed by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA). The BC Regulations are intended to commence on 1 January 2019, and will replace the Wildlife Conservation Regulations 1970 and Sandalwood Regulations 1993.

The BC Regulations will provide for the licensing and management of activities that affect biodiversity.  There are some activities that will require a licence under the new arrangements, or will be subject to changes in their management.  These include, for example, the collection and sale of firewood from private property, the control arrangements for managed fauna (see below), and the harvesting of wild and cultivated sandalwood.  Licence fee structures are also due to change, with cost increases for existing licensed activities and new costs for previously unlicensed activities.

Ministerial Guidelines have also been prepared to provide the statutory basis for the listing of threatened species, threatened ecological communities, other specially protected species, critical habitat and key threatening processes

DBCA is seeking feedback on the new regulations by 31 July, and the Ministerial Guidelines by 30 September.  WALGA is coordinating a submission on behalf of the Local Government sector, with comments required by Friday, 3 August.

DBCA will hold a briefing on the key areas of relevance to Local Government on Thursday, 26 July, from 2 – 3.30 pm, at the Department’s headquarters, 17 Dick Perry Avenue, Kensington.  To RSVP, please email environment@walga.asn.au.  Please refer to WALGA's InfoPage for more information, or contact  Melanie Davies, Biodiversity and Sustainability Project Officer, on 9213 2065.
 

Managed Fauna provisions under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 Regulations

The Western Australian Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (BC Act) will replace the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 and associated Wildlife Conservation Regulations 1970 when it is fully proclaimed. Biodiversity Conservation Regulations are currently being developed by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. These Regulations are intended to commence on 1 January 2019.

Some species of fauna protected under the BC Act can cause significant damage or have major impacts on other native species.  These species are referred to as ‘Managed Fauna’ and the areas where they can be taken are known as Managed Fauna areas.  Species prescribed as managed fauna include the Australian raven, Eastern long-billed corella, Little corella, Galah, Rainbow lorikeet and Sulphur-crested cockatoo. 

Similar to the Open Season notices that existed under the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950, Managed Fauna may only be taken under certain circumstances.  Landowners and occupiers intending to take Managed Fauna should also be aware of their responsibilities under the Animal Welfare Act 2002.   Please refer to WALGA's InfoPage for more information, or contact Nicole Matthews, Environment Policy Manager, on 9213 2039


Recommendation to declare the feral cat as a pest in Western Australia

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) has completed a technical assessment and recommended that the feral cat is declared as a pest under the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007.  The technical assessment and recommendation follows the Australian Government listing predation by cats as a key threatening process under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), and an agreement in July 2015 from Environment Ministers from across Australia to enable effective and humane control of feral cats in each of their jurisdictions.

Should the recommendation be accepted by the Minister, DPIRD will not enforce landholders to undertake management activities.  Rather, declaration will enhance landscape scale management activities through better coordination of government and community programs. 

DPIRD is also developing a draft policy aimed at mitigating the risk of harm to domestic pet cats.  WALGA will keep the sector updated on opportunities to comment on the draft policy. Please refer to WALGA's InfoPage for more information, or contact Melanie Davies, Biodiversity and Sustainability Project Officer, on 9213 2065. 


Revision of the WALGA Climate Change Policy Statement

The   Climate Change Policy Statement Discussion Paper was open for sector comment from November 2017 to January 2018. WALGA received a total of 26 responses to the Climate Change Policy Statement Discussion Paper. Roughly half were individual responses (some officers, some Councillors) and the other half were responses endorsed by the Local Government. Responses were overwhelmingly supportive of producing a strong policy statement, that reflects the scientific consensus, international developments (e.g. the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals) and most importantly, the fact that Local Governments are already experiencing climate change, and taking mitigation and adaptation action.
 
Following on from WALGA’s release of the  Climate Change Policy Statement Discussion Paper, WALGA produced a  draft revised WALGA Climate Change Policy. Local Governments were encouraged to provide input, with comments closing on Tuesday, 24 April. WALGA received input from 30 Local Governments and is now reviewing all comments received. The draft Policy Statement will be submitted to State Council for its approval or comment. If endorsed by State Council, it will provide the basis for WALGA’s climate change advocacy plan, which will be developed in consultation with the sector and further detail how WALGA will promote and prosecute Local Governments’ key climate change priorities over the next few years.
 

Australia's Strategy for Nature 2018 - 2030:  WALGA interim submission

In November 2017, Australian, State and Territory Environment Ministers agreed to revise “Australia’s Biodiversity Conservation Strategy: 2010- 2030” based on the findings of a review into the first five years of the strategy’s implementation. The public comment period for the revised “Australia’s Strategy for Nature 2018-2030: Australia’s biodiversity conservation strategy and action inventory”closed on Friday, 16 March

WALGA coordinated a submission on behalf of the Local Government sector.  The submission recommends significant revision of the strategy to provide a strong national framework for biodiversity conservation, identify outcomes and set measurable targets, and commit adequate funding for implementation and monitoring of results.  WALGA's submission can be viewed here.

For further information, please contact Melanie Davies, Biodiversity and Sustainability Project Officer, or call 9213 2065.

EnviroNews

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