Native vegetation policy for Western Australia

A whole-of-government approach for a net improvement in native vegetation through enabling all sectors.
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Western Australia’s native vegetation supports our internationally renowned biodiversity and unique fauna. It also plays many other roles such as fixing carbon and supporting cool and liveable cities, community wellbeing and productive landscapes. Our state’s sustainable future requires that we address and reverse its decline.

A key challenge is that native vegetation management is highly decentralised across more than 15 pieces of legislation, each with different purposes and objectives.

The Native vegetation policy for Western Australia drives a whole-of-government approach to achieving better outcomes for native vegetation and improved clarity and certainty for stakeholders. It does this through setting up the right:

  • policy settings at a statewide and regional level for application by all agencies
  • practices for consistent and transparent decision-making
  • information and systems for accessible and reliable data.

Implementation roadmap

The policy’s Implementation roadmap sets out the actions the State Government will take over the next four years to achieve the policy outcomes, and how it will report on the actions and their outcomes.

Agencies will work with community and industry to implement the actions.

You can visit this website for periodic updates on the policy’s implementation, including reporting on roadmap actions.

Consultation

Consultation, evaluation and improvement will play ongoing roles in the State Government’s implementation of roadmap actions. You can subscribe below to be notified of public consultation opportunities and web updates on the program of works.

The reforms in the policy reflect two rounds of consultation, on an issues paper (2020) and on a draft policy (2021).

Image showing the native vegetation policy development process

 

For more information, including access to the draft policy's Consultation summary report and submissions, see the Development of the Native vegetation policy web page.

Announcements

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Minister's media statement: New native vegetation policy for Western Australia (May 2022)

Frequently asked questions

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Why is the native vegetation policy needed?

Western Australia’s native vegetation is biodiverse, internationally renowned and worth protecting. However, its management is highly decentralised across more than 15 pieces of legislation, each with different purposes and objectives, and there is a range of competing priorities. To protect it, the policy builds the systems, processes and stakeholder readiness to support lasting reforms – including through better use of the management frameworks already in place.

What will the policy do?

The Native vegetation policy for Western Australia drives a whole-of-government approach to achieving better outcomes for native vegetation and improved clarity and certainty for stakeholders. It does this through setting up the right:

  • policy settings at a statewide and regional level for application by all agencies
  • practices for consistent and transparent decision-making
  • information and systems for accessible and reliable data.

What outcomes does the policy seek to achieve?

The policy is to enable all stakeholders to contribute to a net gain in native vegetation, conserving biodiversity, fixing carbon and building the restoration economy. Through commitments to improve policy, practice and systems, it also aims for regulatory clarity for business certainty and to build a strong, accessible evidence base for policy-making, decisions and transparency.

What role will stakeholders have?

The policy guides State Government agencies to work together and with stakeholders to achieve the policy outcomes. Consultation and co-design will be intrinsic to implementing the roadmap actions, ahead of any direct operational reform and impacts. As a result of some roadmap actions, particularly those for regional planning, regulatory standards may become clearer or change. The State Government’s usual processes for regulatory reform and their standard consultation requirements will continue to apply.

How will regional planning for native vegetation be done?

Regional planning will use the management frameworks already in place to better plan for and coordinate native vegetation management. The general steps for native vegetation regional planning are outlined in action 1.4 of the roadmap. The benefits, potential outputs and policy-making models are outlined under ‘More on regional planning’ on page 11 of the policy. The ‘Guidance for roadmap agencies’ under ‘How agencies will implement the policy’ outlines agency considerations.

What about the Swan Coastal Plain?

Roadmap action 1.4 requires agencies to consult and prioritise regional planning matters and the Swan Coastal Plain will be considered as part of that process. 

Why doesn’t the policy prevent further clearing? What about targets and thresholds?

To be enduring, clearing reforms must be defensible, workable and build stakeholder readiness. Well-consulted and regionally tailored objectives and priorities will form the basis for reforms, informed by better data. Consideration of targets and thresholds as a management tool will occur via regional planning for native vegetation.

Will this policy make it harder to gain approvals to clear for development?

The policy will not directly change regulatory arrangements for clearing. Instead, it will progress regional planning for native vegetation to guide regulatory assessments together with other activities. Clear, well-consulted objectives will support business certainty, outcome-based regulation and streamlining.

Is the policy funded?

Many of the roadmap actions can be achieved now, through better coordination across government’s usual business and existing funded initiatives. These include Environment Online, the Biodiversity Information Office and reforms to usual business in line with the State Government’s Open Data Policy and Digital Strategy.

In addition, the State Government has allocated $3.3 million over two years to implement key roadmap actions, including the initial design and consultation phase for roadmap action 3.1 to map and monitor native vegetation statewide. The outputs and outcomes delivered in the first two years will inform and support future resource planning to continue policy implementation, including future requests through the budget process.

What funding is available for ecosystem restoration?

Roadmap action 1.3 will identify policy reforms to better incentivise landholder choices to conserve and restore, perhaps by leveraging existing funding streams and fostering the use of emerging ones (e.g. carbon markets, natural capital accounting). A strategic restoration plan for the Wheatbelt (roadmap action 1.5c) will provide further detail for this area. Broadly, regional planning for native vegetation will identify objectives and priorities for native vegetation which may be used in new funding applications.

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Page reviewed 26 May 2022