Any new development or change in land-use within a Conservation Area identified in the Biodiversity Conservation Strategy will require approval. Proponents will need to submit a Works in a Conservation Area (WICA) application to DELWP.
What is required when submitting an application?
All applications must provide the following information:
- A description of the use or development including:
- A plan showing the project footprint and associated site facilities or works.
- A project description.
- A description of any operational and maintenance requirements.
- Commencement and completion dates, including any project staging.
- A description of the need for the proposal and the feasibility of options not requiring the removal of native vegetation or habitat for matters of national environmental significance.
- A description of the consistency of the proposal with the Conservation Area Concept Plan within any Precinct Structure Plan applying to the land as well as any management plan under section 69 of the Conservation Forests and Lands Act 1987 or approved by a public land manager responsible for the management of the land.
- A description of the impacts of the proposal on:
- The amount and quality of native vegetation to be removed.
- Flora and fauna listed under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 and matters of national environmental significance (MNES) listed under the EPBC Act, including the amount and quality of ecological communities and habitat and number of individual species to be removed.
- Other environmental values of the land, including soil, wetlands and waterways.
- The design and management measures, construction techniques, and environmental controls proposed to avoid, minimise or offset the impacts of the proposal on the biodiversity and environmental values of the land.
DELWP may also require:
- A flora and fauna survey conducted by a suitably-qualified and experienced person
- A Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP) to ensure biodiversity values are protected during construction.
All WICA applications need to be submitted for DELWP's consideration, with some applications also requiring Commonwealth approval prior to commencing the use or development.
Preparing a Construction Environmental Management Plan
Under the Melbourne Strategic Assessment program all works within or adjoining a conservation area identified in the Biodiversity Conservation Strategy (DEPI 2013) require approval from DELWP. In most cases DELWP approval will require a Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP) to be prepared to its satisfaction.
The purpose of a CEMP is to set out how risks to ecological values within the conservation area will be managed, consistent with the conservation objectives of the Biodiversity Conservation Strategy. Guidance on preparing a CEMP for subdivisions and works within or adjacent to conservation areas can be found in the DELWP requirements for Construction Environmental Management Plans under the Melbourne Strategic Assessment.
When is Commonwealth approval required?
DELWP's approval is required for all applications. Where works are proposed in a Conservation Area that results in a net loss of habitat for matters of national environmental significance, approval from the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment and Energy is also required.
DELWP considers Areas of Strategic Importance (outlined in the Growling Grass Frog Masterplan for Melbourne's Growth Corridors) as habitat for Growling Grass Frogs.
DELWP's decision-making criteria
DELWP will consider the following for all applications:
- The need for the use or development and the feasibility of options not requiring the removal of native vegetation or habitat for matters of national environmental significance.
- The impacts of the proposal on the biodiversity and environmental values of the land.
- The impacts of the proposal on the ability to manage, protect, and enhance the biodiversity values of the land.
- The consistency of the proposal with any Conservation Area Concept Plan or Land Management Agreement applying to the land.
- The design and management measures, construction techniques, and environmental controls proposed to avoid, minimise, or offset the impacts of the proposal on the biodiversity and environmental values of the land.
DELWP will also consider the following criteria for applications where Commonwealth approval is required:
- Long-term maintenance of populations, habitat, and ecological communities for MNES
- Whether impacted MNES can receive a net conservation gain elsewhere
For a more detailed list or requirements, please refer to part four of the Guidance Note: Implementing the Biodiversity Conservation Strategy for Melbourne's Growth Corridors.
Page last updated: 12/01/21