Environmental Outcomes Assessment Methodology




Status:

Advice provided

Advice date:

March 2006 to February 2011

Summary

An objective of the Native Vegetation Act 2003 is to end broadscale clearing except where the clearing will improve or maintain environmental outcomes. The Environmental Outcomes Assessment Methodology sets out the circumstances in which broadscale clearing is to be regarded as improving or maintaining environmental outcomes. The Assessment Methodology provides the scientific underpinning and the logic used in this assessment, and continues to be refined as the science improves.

The Minister responsible for the Native Vegetation Act 2003 sought advice from the Commission on the following proposed amendments to the Assessment Methodology.

Amendments to Chapter 8 (February 2011)

These amendments proposed a new Chapter 8 that aims to streamline the current assessment process.

The Commission recommended that the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW) and Catchment Management Authorities (CMAs):

  • document scientific basis for the proposed amendments
  • build and test a prototype tool to test the proposed amendments on a significant sample of clearing requests across all regions
  • establish a system for periodic, independent auditing of property vegetation plans and public reporting to identify areas for improvement and increase public confidence in the Assessment Methodology.

Amendments to Chapter 7 (February 2010)

These amendments were to Chapter 7 which deals with assessment of invasive native scrub.

The Commission recommended that the Minister adopt all of the proposed amendments with the provision that clearing types'a' through to 'c' are only permitted for the invasive native species Acacia Jarnesiana and Acacia stenophylla.

Amendments to Chapter 2 and 5 (May 2009)

These amendments were to Chapters 2 and 5 which deal with biodiversity aspects of landholders' applications to managem native vegetation on their properties.

The Commission recommended that the Minister:

  • adopt the proposed amendments, as most are intended to resolve long-standing practical issues raised by CMAs, and do not fundamentally alter the Assessment Methodology
  • note that DECCW will test the amendments during ‘user acceptance testing’ of the software, and later by way of feedback from CMAs
  • consider options to further increase public confidence in the Assessment Methodology by meeting stakeholders’ calls for more independent and accessible public information on the successes or otherwise of the Assessment Methodology.

General amendments (January 2007)

The Commission recommended that all of the proposed amendments be adopted as the amendments will improve the quality of the Assessment Methodology. Most amendments are minor in nature, consisting of corrections for typographical errors, and corrections to ensure consistency and accuracy.

Amendments to Chapter 6 (December 2006)

These amendments were to management actions within the Land and Soil Capability Tool in Chapter 6.

The Commission recommended that

  • the revised management actions should be published as supplementary guidance material supporting the Assessment Methodology, and should not be included as changes to the Assessment Methodology itself
  • the proposed steps to improve consideration of land use type should also be incorporated into Appendix B of the Assessment Methodology.

Amendments to Chapter 7 (September 2006)

These amendments were to Chapter 7 which deals with the assessment of invasive native scrub.

The Commission recommended that the majority of the Invasive Native Scrub Review Group’s amendments be adopted. However, one amendment has not been sufficiently justified and should not be adopted. The Commission also suggested changes to specific amendments, and made additional suggestions which will assist in the implementation of the tool and identifying amendments for future reviews.

Amendments to Chapter 4 (March 2006)

These amendments were to Chapter 4 which deals with salinity assessment.

The Commission recommended that the proposed amendments be adopted.

The Commission believes the proposed amendments will increase the effectiveness of the Land and Soil Capability Tool, particularly in western areas of the state, by providing more detail of the distribution of the salt levels stored in soils across the state.

Key documents