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Local Government Policy Manual

Statement: Local government recognises the importance of managing the network of legally designated natural areas and fauna, along with the ongoing provision and maintenance of natural areas within communities, and will play an active role in managing and protecting all natural areas and species of national, state and local significance.

4.1.1 Research and Development

Local government recognises that there are significant data gaps for undertaking risk management processes to identify solutions to environmental impacts. Councils should share their research and development data with stakeholders based on mutually agreeable terms, on the understanding that stakeholders will also share their data with councils.

4.1.2 Community Natural Areas

The physical and mental health benefits of providing local natural areas in communities are widely accepted. Councils shall appropriately manage and maintain local natural areas as part of their overall public open space strategies and practices.

4.1.3 Verges and Corridors

Local government recognises the fiscal impacts placed on councils for managing roadside and utility corridors that are ‘gifted’ to them as part of state government or private development activities. Local government shall continue to lobby for changes to the Highways Act 1926 to devolve its statutory responsibilities to instead be able to negotiate management responsibilities.

4.1.4 Biosecurity

Local government acknowledges that feral animals and noxious plants can have significant environmental impacts and that managing these impacts is a shared responsibility of all tiers of government. Councils should work with neighbouring councils, federal and state governments to address bio-security threats, recognising the obligations of other parties.

4.1.5 Native Vegetation

Local government supports retention and remediation of native vegetation outside of townships and that opportunities to expand or remediate native vegetation within townships should be fully explored. Councils shall adhere to native vegetation guidelines while maximising opportunities in all planning and development activities.

4.1.6 Bushfire Management

Local government supports a balance between the protection of native vegetation and the necessity to develop bushfire prevention strategies that may include back-burning or cold burns. Councils shall ensure that clear evidence is developed to support back-burning/cold burning proposals and ensure vegetation is only disturbed when vital to the protection of communities.

4.1.7 Coasts and Marine

It is accepted that sea level rise and storm surges will have significant impacts on coastal settlements and that it is a shared responsibility of all tiers of government to tackle these impacts. Local government shall continue to rigorously lobby federal and state governments to acknowledge their responsibilities and to provide the equitable and significant resources.

4.1.8 NRM Governance Frameworks

Local government considers the way natural resources are currently managed is fragmented and unequitable and that many decisions should be devolved locally for increased community benefits. Local government shall continue to lobby state government for administration and decision making reform in this area to maximise value of our natural resources.

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