The Victorian Government has rolled out its new $1 billion Biodiversity Conservation Strategy, which it says will serve the needs of both the housing industry and the state’s biodiversity.

State Environment Minister, Ryan Smith, said that the strategy would see almost $1 billion spent in establishing new conservation and protection reserves for native vegetation and species, while unlocking billions of dollars worth of housing investment potential.

“A key focus of the strategy is the establishment of a transparent and consistent cost recovery model to help mitigate any potential impacts on native vegetation and species as Victorian’s housing needs continue to grow,” Mr Smith said.

“Under the strategy, developers of land released within Melbourne’s growth corridors will contribute nearly $1 billion over 30 years to protect threatened flora and fauna.

“In addition to protecting the environment, the housing market will also benefit with forecast savings of around $500 million in costs through a more streamlined environmental approvals process.”

The central points of the strategy are:

  • The establishment of 36 conservation reserves within the Urban Growth Boundary comprising about 5,700 hectares, including around 3,000 hectares of land along major waterways to protect and restore habitat for the Growling Grass Frog;
  • 1,260 hectares of new reserves outside the Urban Growth Boundary across rural Victoria;
  • The establishment of the 15,000 hectare Western Grasslands Reserve that extends from Mt Cottrell, south east of Melton to north of Little River, west of Werribee;
  • The creation of a 1,200 hectare grassy woodland reserve
  • The development of sub-regional strategies and protection targets for species including the Growling Grass Frog, Golden Sun Moth, Spiny Rice-flower and the Matted Flax-lily. A sub-regional strategy is also being developed for the Southern Brown Bandicoot.