Soil policy (Victoria, Australia)


Soil policy (Victoria, Australia)

This discussion outlines soil policy in the State of Victoria, Australia. A policy, for the purpose of this discussion, is a principle or course of action adopted or proposed by a definable group of people.

Overview

A 10-year vision for the environment of Victoria is spelled out in Growing Victoria Together (DPC, 2001). One of the goals of this vision is: “the condition of our land will improve as the impact of salinity and soil degradation is reduced”.

Complimenting Growing Victoria Together is a framework for Victoria’s environmental sustainability - Our Environment Our Future (DSE, 2005). It defines a “long term and integrated approach” that seeks to “maximise our future economic growth, maintain our quality of life and protect our unique Victorian environment”. This is to be achieved by
* maintaining and restoring our natural assets
* using resources more efficiently
* reducing our everyday environmental impacts

Within Growing Victoria Together and Our Environment Our Future is the contemporary policy-base for soils, one of the State’s natural assets. The following section introduces the soil policy and approaches of selected public agencies in Victoria.

Victorian government agencies with policies implicating soil

A 10-year vision for the environment of Victoria is spelled out in "Growing Victoria Together" (DPC, 2001). One of the goals of this vision is: “the condition of our land will improve as the impact of salinity and soil degradation is reduced”.

Complimenting Growing Victoria Together is a framework for Victoria’s environmental sustainability - Our Environment Our Future (DSE, 2005). It defines a “long term and integrated approach” that seeks to “maximise our future economic growth, maintain our quality of life and protect our unique Victorian environment”. This is to be achieved by “a: maintaining and restoring our natural assets, b: using resources more efficiently, and c: reducing our everyday environmental impacts.”

Within Growing Victoria Together and Our Environment Our Future is the contemporary policy-base for soils, one of the State’s natural assets. The following section introduces the soil policy and approaches of selected public agencies in Victoria.

Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE)

DSE is responsible for promoting and managing the sustainability of the state’s natural and built environments. Its 2006 Outcomes Framework provides a general sense of healthy and productive land. Its policy base must ensure that
*soils are managed for all their values (irrespective of either tenure or use)
*soil values are retained for future generations, and
*that values derived from soil are sustained and private interests do not compromise public interests.

DSE is central to the development of Our Environment Our Future and influential through its partners in the implementation of this framework. Significantly, in 2007, it is coordinating the Victorian Government’s white paper Land and biodiversity in a time of climate change (DSE, 2007). Being formative to new policy, it is significant that this paper clearly recognises the value of the state’s soil asset, especially in terms of its contribution to ecosystem services and agricultural production.

Department of Primary Industries (DPI)

The vision of the DPI is Growing our Future, which is compatible the state’s 10-year vision, Growing Victoria Together”. Its purpose is “sustainable development of primary industries” with objectives around: strong economic activity; high quality natural resources, long term, and; resilient industries and communities (DPI, 2007).

The soil policy position of DPI, with respect to agriculture and private forestry, is predicated on two requirements: healthy and productive lands to support sustainable production of 'agricultural' goods and services; and, agricultural activities which do not compromise healthy and productive lands either now or for the future.

Catchment Management Authorities (CMAs)

The Victorian CMAs are established under the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1997; each CMA oversees investment in regional natural resource sustainability by coordinating the development and implementation of a Regional Catchment Strategy (RCS) and associated annual Regional Catchment Investment Plan (RCIP).

The North Central Catchment Management Authority (North Central CMA), for example, in 2007, is reviewing its RCS position on soil health. Soils are considered in two ways: as an asset providing services, such as agricultural production, and, as an entity whose decline threatens associated assets such as water quality (North Central CMA, 2007). While the North Central region’s RCS will continue to acknowledge the value of healthy soils, the extent to which limited environmental funds are spent on protecting the soil “asset” versus only investing in soil health to mitigate threats to higher-priority regional assets, has yet to be determined.

Environment Protection Authority (EPA)

The purpose of the EPA is to “protect, care for and improve our environment”. The EPA is guided by an Environment Protection Board, which provides policy advice based on national and international trends in environmental protection (EPA, 2007).

The EPA is interested in soils to the extent that it seeks to protect the beneficial uses of the land resources - pollution control is the primary focus. Relevant legislation includes the Environment Protection Act 1970 and also, for example, the State Environmental Protection Policy (SEPP), Prevention and Management of Contamination of Land, and Industrial Waste Management Policy (IWMP), Waste Acid Sulfate Soils.

Local Government

Local Government in Victoria provides a range of services including “property, economic, human, recreational and cultural services. Councils also enforce state and local laws relating to such matters as land use planning, environment protection, public health, traffic and parking, and animal management” (DVC, 2007).

Local government may take an interest in soil health through its planning schemes, which describe the types of activities and developments that may occur in designated areas of the municipality; they may also establish relevant local laws. A positive example of local government acting in the interests of soil health is the joint approach of the Albury and Wodonga Councils (of NSW and VIC respectively) to address urban erosion and sedimentation. The Albury Wodonga Region Soil & Water Management Policy complimented by Erosion and Sediment Control Guidelines for Building Sites (estimated 2004) contain specific soil policy and codes of practice for the building industry.

References

* Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC), 2007, viewed July 2007, http://www.dpc.vic.gov.au/CA256D8000265E1A/page/Growing+Victoria+Together!OpenDocument&1=30-Growing+Victoria+Together~&2=~&3=~
* Department of Primary Industries (DPI) 2007, About DPI – vision, values and objectives, viewed July 2007, http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/dpi/dpincor.nsf/LinkView/19AA029CF0DC4543CA25718C0021E46D46F53BB00B9B01D0CA256F00007FD7C8#objectives
* Department of Sustainability and Environment 2007, Land and biodiversity at a time of climate change, viewed July 2007, http://www.dse.vic.gov.au/CA256F310024B628/0/3BEF611031D56535CA2572C3001DE765/$File/Consultation+doc+final+20070426.pdf
* Department of Victorian Communities (DVC), 2007, Guide to Local Government, viewed July 2007, http://www.localgovernment.vic.gov.au/web22/dvclgg.nsf/headingpagesdisplay/what+councils+do
* Environment Protection Authority (EPA), About EPA, viewed July 2007, http://www.epa.vic.gov.au/about_us/default.asp
* North Central Catchment Management Authority (North Central CMA) 2007, North Central Dryland Region Management Plan, Draft, North Central CMA, Victoria.
* Victorian Government Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) 2005, Our environment our future, Melbourne


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Soil health — is an assessment of ability of a soil to meet its range of ecosystem functions as appropriate to its environment. Aspects of soil health The term soil health is used to assess the ability of a soil to: *Sustain plant and animal productivity and… …   Wikipedia

  • Australia — /aw strayl yeuh/, n. 1. a continent SE of Asia, between the Indian and the Pacific oceans. 18,438,824; 2,948,366 sq. mi. (7,636,270 sq. km). 2. Commonwealth of, a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, consisting of the federated states and… …   Universalium

  • Australia — • Includes history, education, and religious statistics Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Australia     Australia     † …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Victoria — /vik tawr ee euh, tohr /; for 3 also Sp. /beek taw rddyah/, n. 1. the ancient Roman goddess of victory, identified with the Greek goddess Nike. 2. 1819 1901, queen of Great Britain 1837 1901; empress of India 1876 1901. 3. Guadalupe /gwahd l oohp …   Universalium

  • Australia — This article is about the country. For other uses, see Australia (disambiguation). Commonwealth of Australia …   Wikipedia

  • Australia — <p></p> <p></p> Introduction ::Australia <p></p> Background: <p></p> Prehistoric settlers arrived on the continent from Southeast Asia at least 40,000 years before the first Europeans began… …   The World Factbook

  • Mitigation of global warming in Australia — Main article: Climate change in Australia Mitigation of global warming involves taking actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to enhance sinks aimed at reducing the extent of global warming. This is in distinction to adaptation to global… …   Wikipedia

  • Conservation in Australia — Part of a series on Wildlife of Australia …   Wikipedia

  • Salinity in Australia — Soil salinity and dryland salinity are two problems degrading the environment of Australia. It is a concern in most states, but especially in the south west of Western Australia. TOC The Eastern Mallee and the Western Mallee are areas that are… …   Wikipedia

  • South Australia — South Australian. a state in S Australia. 1,285,033; 380,070 sq. mi. (984,380 sq. km). Cap.: Adelaide. * * * State (pop., 2001: 1,514,854), south central Australia. It covers an area of 379,720 sq mi (983,470 sq km), and its capital is Adelaide.… …   Universalium


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.