Regulatory Priorities 2023–2024

Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action
1 Aug 2023

Foreword from the Chief Conservation Regulator, Kate Gavens

Kate Gavens, Chief Conservation Regulator

Protecting Victoria's state forests and native wildlife

We are very fortunate in Victoria to have access to beautiful and unique natural environments which are home to important native species and habitats. Our forests are also a great place to explore and experience nature.

The Conservation Regulator plays a critical role in protecting Victoria’s forests and native wildlife by educating the public, permitting activities and undertaking compliance functions across biodiversity, public land use, fire prevention, and timber harvesting.

Our ongoing commitment is to ensure safe and equitable access to public land that is consistent with the long-term health of the environmental values we are entrusted with. This includes partnering with Victorian Traditional Owners, co-regulators, community organisations, government partners and regulated individuals and organisations to deliver our goals.

The Conservation Regulator conducts a regular state-wide risk assessment process to determine the greatest threats to Victoria’s public land, biodiversity and wildlife and assesses where we, as a regulator, can make the most difference to mitigate these threats. These are our regulatory priorities.

The Victorian Government’s decision to cease native timber harvesting in State Forests by 1 January 2024 is critical context for our role. As the regulator of native timber harvesting, the Conservation Regulator will continue to regulate the timber industry and deliver the Forest Protection Survey Program in areas planned to be harvested through this transition process. We will continue to assess our priorities and our role in the regulation of this industry to ensure we are focusing on what matters through the transition.

Our refreshed regulatory priorities include a new focus on threatened species protection. This recognises the continued evidence of long-term biodiversity decline in state, federal and global analysis like the Victorian Government’s Biodiversity 2037 and Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

Wildlife protection has always been a key area of work for the Conservation Regulator. It continues this year with a sharpened focus on wildlife welfare.

This recognises the harm caused by illegal wildlife trafficking, poor management of wildlife (including those held as pets, for commercial gain and in human care) and from illegal disturbance and control of wildlife.

We are delighted to see the continued trend of more Victorians using public land for recreation. It motivates our work and validates our view that Victorian’s appreciate our shared environment. We continue to work with our regulatory partners and colleagues across the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA) so you can be sure your visitation supports our native species and habitats.

We appreciate the public’s interest and trust in our work and look forward to delivering on our commitments.