Kate Gavens, Chief Conservation Regulator
Welcome to the Conservation Regulator’s Year in Review for 2021-22. Our third year of operation was characterised by strong interest and use in the environment and public land in part driven by the impacts of the global pandemic and the desire of Victorians to connect with nature. It was great to see such an uptake of public land use and interest in wildlife over this time.
The past 12 months has been full of significant outcomes for the Conservation Regulator, including record penalties for several native vegetation and wildlife cases, and a marked reduction in the number of unattended campfires. We continued to improve our systems, processes and tools, introducing online applications for a range of licence and permit applications and creating new online resources making us more accessible to the community.
There continues to be significant interest in the way we regulate, particularly native timber harvesting and the protection of wildlife. These are challenging and important areas of our regulatory responsibility and our Authorised Officers have continued to apply a risk-based approach to regulatory activities. This applies every day and on every case.
After almost three years of operation, we have established a solid foundation and are now embedding our regulatory approach, focusing our efforts on where the greatest risks lie, to have the most impact on protecting our environment. We continue to educate Victorians about the law, provide compliance support and enforce the law when required.
More than any other, this year we have had greater opportunity to engage with the community, including in our day-to-day operations which saw a record number of proactive patrols on public land, or through online and in-person forums with forest users and those involved in surveying for threatened species.
Thank you to our stakeholders and partners who provide valuable feedback to help us continue to develop our approach as a regulator. We are continually looking to build more relationships with individuals and groups who have a shared interest in keeping our forests open, safe and healthy and protecting our wildlife.
I hope you enjoy reading our achievements in Year in Review and look forward to continuing this work in 2022-23.