This report comes at a critical stage in the evolution of the Melbourne Strategic Assessment (MSA) which aligns State and Federal biodiversity regulation under one program aiming to ensure that urban development within Melbourne’s growth areas complies with all biodiversity requirements in a streamlined way.

The MSA program was established in 2008 in the interest of Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD). It is an intrinsic part of the Government’s plan for urban development in growth areas to consider the care and protection of biodiversity, consistent with Victorian and Australian environmental laws protecting Matters of National Environmental Significance (MNES).

The report makes 16 recommendations and lists important challenges, including:

  • That the Department undertakes a review of the MSA ecological monitoring and reporting framework, including a redesign of existing methods and KPI measures where required, to achieve landscape-scale, MNES conservation outcomes. This would include establishing a research strategy to address priority knowledge gaps and improve understanding of MNES and their management.
  • That the Department implements a strategy to embed Traditional Owner rights, knowledge, values and participation in the MSA program design and implementation. This includes mechanisms for the inclusion of cultural heritage and Traditional Owner values into the MSA program logic and monitoring and reporting framework.
  • That the Department: (i) undertakes a contemporary redesign of the MSA program logic in consultation with Traditional Owners, scientists, land managers and community, and (ii) establishes a governance framework that supports better decision-making and risk management practices at all levels of MSA planning and implementation.
  • That the Department actively implements a risk-based land acquisition strategy that prioritises MNES conservation outcomes. The land acquisition strategy must include the identification of interim management needs to support outcomes for MNES in priority areas where delays in acquisition have occurred and/or are likely to occur.
Related Information

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