Legislative Framework & Council Policy
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Council and ratepayer’s sustainability actions take place within State and Federal Government legislative frameworks as well as Council itself having a set of policies and controls which it works within.
In many cases Federal legislative control may affect development and conservation. The Environmental Protection Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act, which applies to nationally threatened flora and fauna, affects areas listed under the Volcanic Plains Natural Temperate Grasslands and Grassy Eucalypt Woodland communities. Many wetlands are listed as being of National significance and this may place controls on to affected areas. Infringements under these Acts can be particularly severe.
At State level, new developments and uses of land and alterations to developments face many controls under the Planning and Environment Act, which Council administrate on the State’s behalf. Control is through the application of the Planning Scheme documents and maps. Environmental issues often form part of the overlay controls which include the Vegetation Protection, Environmental Significance and Landscape Overlay
Ararat Rural City has prepared a list of sites which, due to their previous use, have potential to be contaminated.
Council building regulations now required proponents to provide minimum standards as part of their development.
Council are also required to enforce the Environment Protection Act Code of Practice as they relate to Onsite Wastewater Management in unsewered areas, but otherwise sewerage is controlled in the municipality by GWMWater.
Water, groundwater and catchment controls are quite complex, particularly as the parts of the municipality lay within the Wimmera and Glenelg-Hopkins catchments and issues related to waterways are managed by or referred to the respective Catchment Management Authorities.
For Council’s Roadside Management Plan and the current framework for pest plant and animal management on roadsides refer to Natural Resource Management page.
Environmental Sustainability Strategy
To gain an understanding of Council’s strategic direction, it is useful to read the Environmental Sustainability Strategy.
This document provides an overview of Council’s role in Environmental Sustainability. It reviews and incorporates existing policies and plans, as well as identifying strategies and actions not included in other plans/ strategies. The Strategy incorporated community involvement in determining future sustainability directions for our municipality and identified key environmental sustainability priorities.
It contains actions for which Council is directly responsible or can influence (partnerships, education) and identifies a process for implementing the priority actions. Council established a statutory group, Environmental Sustainability Advisory Group (ESAG), who assisted in the development of the strategy and who will oversee its implementation and its continual review. The ESAG will play a continuing role as an advisory group to Council, acting as a referral group to council on environmental sustainability issues and referring concerns or making submissions to council on their concerns.