VEAC Final recommendations

Full details of the VEAC Final recommendations can be found in the VEAC Yellingbo Investigation Final Report July 2013 (PDF)

Presented here are general recommendations that apply to all or the majority of the investigation area, prefixed R. Recommendations for specific public land use categories are prefixed A to G.

R1. Implementation resources

Government allocates adequate financial and staff resources for implementation of these recommendations and ensures that the objectives of the report and recommendations are achieved.

R2. Resources for ongoing land management

Government allocates additional resources to address current and future public land management needs in the investigation area, with priority given to biodiversity conservation, pest plant and animal control, fire management planning and fire preparedness, and on-ground staff presence particularly with a view to improving current levels of compliance with regulations.

R3. Upon government acceptance of the recommendations in this report

that:

(a) relevant land be managed in accordance with accepted recommendations

(b) subsequent implementation of the recommendations allow flexibility for minor boundary adjustments.

R4. Boundary identification

Upon government acceptance of the recommendations in this report that priority be given to the identification of public land boundaries by graphical/digital means, especially for reserves along streams, with on-site survey if required to resolve specific management issues.

R5. State Emblems Conservation Area

That a State Emblems Conservation Area be designated to include the 2940 hectare area shown on figure 3.1 and in table 3.1, and that this area:

(a) provide for integrated management of the component land for the overall protection or enhancement of biodiversity and ecological values

(b) be managed in accordance with directions set out in box 3.1 which form a part of this recommendation, and

(c) be managed under section 19B and 19F of the National Parks Act 1975 and added to a new Schedule Four A ‘Conservation Landscapes’ created for the protection of fragmented public land within specified landscapes and for the integrated management of the designated land for nature conservation (also see note 1) and that:

(d) the individual public land units listed in table 3.1 be reserved according to the recommendations A, C and E, applying specifically or generally to the relevant designated public land use category

(e) the National Parks Act 1975 be amended if required to allow for:

(i) management agreements with public authorities to manage specified land included on Schedule Four A (recommendation R5(d), above), and

(ii) conservation agreements with adjacent landholders, for land on Schedule Four A (recommendation R5 (d), above) within 100 metres of both a permanent waterway and the private land boundary

(f) such agreements be made as appropriate for land specified in recommendations A2, C1 to C8 and E1, and;

(g) the relevant public land managers continue to have direct management responsibility for the respective public land units, including where that relates to broader scale planning responsibilities such as fire management and planning.

Note:

  1. Provisions of the National Parks Act 1975 and the regulations under the Act are to apply to the land in the State Emblems Conservation Area.
R6. State Emblems Conservation Area Coordinating Committee

That:

(a)  a State Emblems Conservation Area Coordinating Committee be established to oversee and coordinate land management for nature conservation and biodiversity programs in the State Emblems Conservation Area, set strategic directions and policies, provide guidance for land management, and increase the profile of the biodiversity and ecological values of the area and their protection; and that;

(b)  the coordinating committee be established under section 12 of the Conservation, Forests and Lands Act 1987

(c)  the Coordinating Committee be made up of a representative from each of Parks Victoria, Melbourne Water, Yarra Ranges Council, Cardinia Shire Council, Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Zoos Victoria, Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority, Trust for Nature, and four community representatives: three nominated by Yarra Ranges Council and one nominated by Cardinia Shire Council.

(d)  a convener, who is not from one of the member organisations, be appointed to act as independent chairperson, and

(e)  the role of the committee which forms part of this recommendation, be the basis for the formal functions of the committee.

A. General recommendations for nature conservation reserves

That the nature conservation reserves numbered A1 to A3, as shown on map A:

(a) be used to:

(i) conserve and protect species, communities or habitats of indigenous flora and fauna

(ii) provide for educational and scientific study, where consistent with (i) above

(iii) provide for recreation by small numbers of people, at the discretion of the land manager and where consistent with (i) above

(iv) identify and protect cultural heritage values, where consistent with (i) above,

 

(b)  generally permit the following activities, where compatible with (a):

(i)  bushwalking, nature observation, heritage appreciation, picnicking

(ii)  for Crown land, exploration and mining for minerals and searching for and extraction of stone resources subject to the consent of the Crown land Minister (see note 2),

 

(c) exclude the following activities:

(i)  grazing of domestic stock (see note 3)

(ii)  harvesting of forest products

(iii) hunting and use of firearms (see note 4)

(iv)  solid fuel fires at any time of year (see note 5)

(v)  dog walking (see note 6)

(vi)  horse riding,

(d) be permanently reserved for conservation purposes under the Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978 and included in a new schedule Four A ‘Conservation landscapes’ of the National Parks Act 1975 as part of the State Emblems Conservation Area in accordance with recommendation R5(d).

Notes:

  1. The above management objectives and land use recommendations are those that generally apply for the land use category. Exceptions to these may apply to specific reserves in special circumstances.
  2. Exploration and mining provisions arise from nature conservation reserves being ‘restricted Crown land’ under the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990.
  3. Grazing may be contracted for ecological or management purposes such as targeted weed control but current licences in the recommended nature conservation reserves as shown on map A should cease as soon as possible, and grazing (if any) removed from these areas.
  4. Hunting and the use of firearms may be authorised by the land manager as part of a pest animal control program.
  5. Fire may be utilised as a land management tool, including for public safety, where compatible with ecological values. Existing picnic and barbecue facilities may be retained at Avard Park, at the discretion of the land manager and in accordance with management planning.
  6. On-lead dog walking is permitted to continue only along Menzies Creek in recommended A3 Sassafras Creek Nature Conservation Reserve, and in accordance with management planning for that reserve.

 

A1. State Emblems Nature Conservation Reserve

That

(a) the area of 1662 hectares shown on map A as the State Emblems Nature Conservation Reserve be used in accordance with the general recommendations for nature conservation reserves and

(b) this area be managed in accordance with recommendations R5 and R6 and directions set by the State Emblems Conservation Area Coordinating Committee.

Notes:

  1. To facilitate community education and awareness of nature conservation issues, and to provide for landscape revegetation or restoration, the nursery and education centre at Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve may continue to operate within the reserve, at the discretion of the land manager.
  2. The fire management plan for the area of the current Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve should be finalised as soon as possible.
A2. Coranderrk Nature Conservation Reserve

That

(a) the area of 144 hectares shown on map A as the Coranderrk Nature Conservation Reservebe used in accordance with the general recommendations for nature conservation reserves, except that

(b) public access and recreation including bushwalking, nature observation, heritage appreciation and picnicking may continue to be limited at the discretion of the land manager; and

(c) this area be managed in accordance with recommendations R5 and R6 and directions set by the State Emblems Conservation Area Coordinating Committee.

Note:

  1. Zoos Victoria should continue to manage this nature conservation reserve.
A3. Conservation Reserve

That

(a) the area of 243 hectares shown on map A as the Sassafras Creek Nature Conservation Reserve be used in accordance with the general recommendations for nature conservation reserves; and

(b) this area be managed in accordance with recommendations R5 and R6 and directions set by the State Emblems Conservation Area Coordinating Committee.

Notes:

  1. On-lead dog walking is permitted to continue along Menzies Creek, and in accordance with management planning.
  2. Existing barbecue facilities may be retained at Avard Picnic Ground at the land manager’s discretion.
B. General recommendations for Trust for Nature protected areas

That the Trust for Nature protected areas as shown on map A, according to their specific values:

(a) be used to:

(i) conserve and protect species, communities or habitats of indigenous flora and fauna

(ii) provide for educational and scientific study, where consistent with (i) above

(iii) provide for recreation by small numbers of people at the discretion of the land manager, where consistent with (i) above

(iv) identify and protect cultural heritage values, where consistent with (i) above;

 

(b) continue to be managed by Trust for Nature in accordance with the Victorian Conservation Trust Act 1972, and:

(i) should these areas no longer be required by Trust For Nature, that the areas be transferred to the Crown or other government agency; and

(ii) be permanently reserved for conservation purposes under the Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978 or protected through another appropriate mechanism such as a conservation covenant.

C. General recommendations for natural features reserves

That the natural features reserves, as shown on map A, according to their specific characteristics:

(a) be used to:

(i) protect natural features and values

(ii) protect and restore areas with remnant vegetation or habitat value and conserve indigenous flora and fauna

(iii) protect water quality where appropriate

(iv) protect historic and Aboriginal cultural heritage features, values and sites

(v) provide opportunities for education and recreation, at levels consistent with (i) to (iv) above

(vi) maintain scenic features and the character and quality of the local landscapes

(vii) preserve features of geological or geomorphological interest;

 

(b) generally permit the following activities:

(i) exploration for minerals and mining, subject to decisions on particular cases

(ii) prospecting and apiculture;

 

(c) exclude the following activities:

(i) timber harvesting

(ii) domestic stock grazing in bushland and streamside reserves and in stream frontages under riparian management or conservation licences or agreements (see notes 1 to 4); and;

 

(d) include adjoining unused road reserves where appropriate ecological or recreational values and minimal impacts on other uses are identified

(e) be permanently reserved under the Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978 if not already appropriately reserved; or be managed in accordance with the above, if public authority owned land; and that

(f) any licences permitting grazing that are subject to transfer through sale of nearby private land should not be renewed.

Notes:

  1. All water frontage grazing licences are recommended to be phased out by the end of 2018 on streamside reserves (see recommendations C1-C8).
  2. Grazing may be contracted for ecological or management purposes such as targeted weed control.
  3. Unless previously agreed otherwise under the Melbourne Water Stream Frontage Management Program, all future changes to licences including those recommended here (such as conversion to a landholder conservation agreement) should align with the public-private land boundaries.
  4. The removal of licensed grazing does not necessarily compel the removal of stock watering; off-stream watering can be provided for, where appropriate.
  5. Emerald Bushland Reserve (Hogan Park) no longer has a BMX track as referred to in the relevant LCC Melbourne District 2 Review recommendations.
Recommended approach to public land along streams

In summary, VEAC is recommending that most stream frontages (formally ‘Natural features reserve – stream frontage’) meeting the following criteria be included in the State Emblems Conservation Area (recommendation R5)

as protected areas, either as streamside reserves or nature conservation reserves:

  • support significant biodiversity values
  • form part of a habitat corridor, or have the potential to do so
  • subject to other existing measures for protection (e.g. heritage river)
  • contribute to the consolidation of land status
  • threat or are vulnerable to future threats.

This means most of the current stream frontages and other public land along waterways are:

(i) part of nature conservation reserves (recommendations A1-A3) where any licences are to be cancelled upon acceptance of these recommendations:

The Woori Yallock Creek (between the existing Yellingbo and Sassafras Creek nature conservation reserves)

Menzies Creek (upstream of Sassafras Creek Nature Conservation Reserve)

Emerald Creek (upstream of Sassafras Creek Nature Conservation Reserve)

Shepherd Creek (entire length within the investigation area)

Hoddles Creek and Wet Lead Creek (upstream of Black Leather Creek Road) or;

(ii) streamside reserves where current water frontage (grazing) licences are recommended to be surrendered or converted to landholder conservation agreements within two years (recommendations C1 and C2):

Yarra River from the existing Warramate Hills Nature Conservation Reserve upstream to Millgrove (recommendation C1)

Hoddles Creek and Wet Lead Creek (downstream of Black Leather Creek Road) including Hoddles Creek Bushland Reserve (recommendation C2); or;

(iii) streamside reserves where current water frontage (grazing) licences which are recommended to be surrendered or converted to landholder conservation agreements by the end of 2018 (recommendations C3-C8):

Cockatoo Creek (entire length within the investigation area except that area added to Wright Forest Bushland Reserve) (recommendation C3)

McCrae Creek (entire length within the investigation area; recommendation C4)

Woori Yallock Creek (downstream of Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve) including the existing Woori Yallock Creek Streamside Reserve (recommendation C5)

Yarra River and Badger Creek (downstream of the Warramate Hills Nature Conservation Reserve) including the existing Yarra River (Everard Park) Streamside Reserve (recommendation C6)

Little Yarra River (entire length within the investigation area; recommendation C7)

Britannia Creek (entire length within the investigation area; recommendation C8).

This approach is intended to augment and support Melbourne Water’s ongoing Stream Frontage Management Program which works with landholders to assist with activities to improve frontage management e.g. fencing, bank stabilisation, pest control, provision of off-stream watering. Such assistance would be available where water frontage (grazing) licences are converted to landholder conservation agreements in accordance with the recommendations in this final report.

C1 – C8. Streamside reserves

That

(a) the area of 695 hectares shown on map A as streamside reserves and labelled C1 to C8 be used in accordance with the general recommendations for natural features reserves and;

(b) be permanently reserved under the Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978 and included in a new Schedule Four A ‘Conservation landscapes’ of the National Parks Act 1975 as part of the State Emblems Conservation Area in accordance with recommendation R5(d)

(c) be managed in accordance with recommendations R5 and R6 and directions set by the State Emblems Conservation Area Coordinating Committee and that

(d) domestic stock grazing be excluded along the Yarra River upstream of the existing Warramate Hills Nature Conservation Reserve (recommendation C1) and the lower Hoddles and Wet Lead Creeks (recommendation C2) from two years of the date of government acceptance of these recommendations through either conversion to landholder conservation agreement in accordance with recommendation R5(e)(ii) with grazing excluded or surrender of licences, with agreement boundaries to follow cadastral boundaries,

(e) domestic stock grazing be excluded along the streamside reserves C3-C8 by the end of 2018 through either conversion to landholder conservation agreement in accordance with recommendation R5(e)(ii) with grazing excluded or surrender of licences, with agreement boundaries to follow cadastral boundaries (see note).

Note:

  1. The term of any licences permitting grazing should be converted to annual until phased out in 2018.
C9. Wright Forest Bushland Reserve

That

(a) The area of 126 hectares shown on map A as Wright Forest Bushland Reserve be used in accordance with the general recommendations for natural features reserves; and;

(b) be permanently reserved under the Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978 and included in a new Schedule Four A ‘Conservation landscapes’ of the National Parks Act 1975 as part of the State Emblems Conservation Area in accordance with recommendation.

(c) be managed in accordance with recommendations R5 and R6 and directions set by the State Emblems Conservation Area Coordinating Committee.

Note:

  1. On-lead dog walking is allowed to continue as permitted by the land manager.
D. General recommendations for services and utilities areas

That

(a) reserves and easements for public services and utilities such as transport, electricity and gas, communications, cemeteries, water and sewerage as shown on map A be used for those purposes; and that;

(b) new services, or utility sites and easements or lines, not be sited in or across nature conservation reserves

(c) railways, roadsides and other service and utility sites be managed to protect natural values including remnant native vegetation and habitat, and Aboriginal cultural heritage values, as far as practical

(d) road reserves identified as supporting native vegetation of high conservation significance (including for connectivity) be managed to protect, improve and where practical enhance their biodiversity values; and

(e) should public land used for service or utility purposes no longer be required, it be assessed for its natural, recreational and cultural heritage values, and capability for other public uses.

Notes:

  1. Not all roads and unused road reserves may bedistinguishable on map A.
  2. There are numerous government roads across the investigation area that contain remnant native vegetation. These should be managed to protect this vegetation, as required under relevant legislation, and where it does not interfere with the primary objective of the road for transport.

 

E. Recommendations for community use areas

That the community use areas, as shown on map A, according to their specific characteristics:

(a) be used as recreation areas and trails, parklands and gardens or for education and other community purposes; and

(b) provide for a broad range of recreational and leisure activities including organised sport, walking, cycling and picnicking

(c) provide for education and public enjoyment in schools, public halls, kindergartens, libraries, museums and other similar areas

(d) provide for appropriate facilities

(e) maintain or restore features of cultural significance, natural surroundings and the local character and quality of the landscape where relevant, and where compatible with the above

(f) exclude harvesting of forest products, hunting and stone extraction, and;

(g) if Crown land which is not already appropriately reserved, be reserved under the Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978, or

(h) if public authority land, be managed in accordance with the above.

Notes:

  1. Where appropriate, a committee of management may be appointed or continue to manage community use areas in accordance with the general recommendation E.
  2. Some areas contain significant environmental values which should be protected.
  3. Monbulk Scout Hall is recommended to be expanded onto a small section of approximately 0.1 hectares of the adjoining Nathania Springs Creek Bushland Reserve. Public land use shown on map A reflects the small excision for community use area – buildings in public use.
E1. Haining Education Area

That

(a) the area of 69 hectares shown on map A as Haining Park be used in accordance with the general recommendations for community use areas

(b) the current use of the area be changed to provide for other forms of land management and educational opportunities with a greater emphasis on sustainability, including improved protection of riparian areas and restoration of habitat for the helmeted honeyeater and lowland Leadbeater’s possum, and that;

(c) this area be removed from Schedule Three of the National Parks Act 1975 and be permanently reserved under the Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978 for the purposes of public education about environmental sustainability and habitat restoration; and;

(d) this area be included in the recommended new schedule Four A of the National Parks Act 1975 as part of the State Emblems Conservation Area and be managed in accordance with recommendations R5 and R6.

Note:

  1.  Council notes that part of this area (Lot 1907 Don Road) is a small residential block. This site can be disposed of if no public use is identified.
F. Recommendations for regional park, state forest, historic and cultural features reserves

That the areas shown as regional park, state forest, historic and cultural features reserves on map A, continue to be used and managed in accordance with the relevant governmentaccepted LCC Melbourne District 2 Review final recommendations for the respective public land use categories.

G. General recommendations for uncategorised public land

Public land other than that recommended for specific uses in this report, or subject to previous accepted specific land use recommendations:

(a) be uncategorised public land

(b) existing legal use and tenure continue for the time being

(c) Crown land be assessed and either:

(i) retained and assigned to a Department of Environment and Primary Industries land manager if it has public land values, or

(ii) disposed of if assessed as having no public land values and as being surplus to current and future community needs;

(d) surplus public authority land be:

(i) assessed for its potential to meet alternative public uses retained as public land where certain public land values are identified; or

(ii) disposed of if assessed as having no public land values and as being surplus to current and future community needs.