Victorian Environmental Assessment Council
The Victorian Environmental Assessment Council (VEAC) was established under the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council Act 2001.
The role of the Council is to conduct investigations as requested by the Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water, relating to the protection and ecologically sustainable management of the environment and natural resources of public land.
The Department of Environment and Primary Industries advertises the proposed terms of reference for new investigations for public comment. The terms of reference are then reviewed in the light of any comments received before the Minister provides a new reference to VEAC. Once VEAC has completed an investigation the government responds to recommendations within six months.
More information about VEAC and its publications, and details of current and previous VEAC investigations, are available on the VEAC website.
In September 2014 the then Minister for Environment and Climate Change asked the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council (VEAC) to carry out an investigation into public land in Victoria in order to provide updated information for public land management.
The final terms of reference for the investigation were determined following a public consultation process during August and September 2014. The statement specifying how comments received on the terms of reference were dealt with and the final terms of reference were tabled in Parliament on 17 September 2014.
In March 2014, the then Minister for Environment and Climate Change requested VEAC to investigate historic places on public land in Victoria.
The final terms of reference for the investigation were determined following a public consultation process during November and December 2013. The statement specifying how comments received on the terms of reference were dealt with and the final terms of reference were tabled in Parliament on 11 March 2014.
Recent investigations completed by VEAC are the Marine Investigation, the Yellingbo Investigation and an investigation into additional prospecting areas in national parks.
Once VEAC has completed investigations the final report is submitted to the Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water. The Government is then required to respond to the report within approximately six months, specifying the action proposed to be taken with respect to each recommendation.
The final reports by VEAC and details on these and other completed investigations are available on the VEAC website.
The then Minister for Environment and Climate Change requested VEAC investigate the outcomes of the establishment of Victoria's existing marine protected areas.
VEAC completed the investigation in April 2014. The government's response to the investigation is currently being developed.
Details about the investigation are available on the VEAC website.
Government Response to VEAC's Yellingbo Investigation
The Victorian Government Response to the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council (VEAC) Yellingbo Investigation was tabled in Parliament and released on 11 March 2014. The government has responded to the recommendations made by VEAC in its report that was publicly released on 7 August 2013.
The government response supports all of VEAC's recommendations in full or in principle.
The government's official response to the VEAC Yellingbo Investigation can be found below.
VEAC's report and other details about the investigation are available from the VEAC website.
Government Response to VEAC's Investigation into Additional Prospecting Areas in Parks
The Victorian Government Response to the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council (VEAC) Investigation into Additional Prospecting Areas in Parks was tabled in Parliament and released on 4 February 2014. The government has responded to the recommendations made by VEAC in its report that was submitted to the then Minister on 31 May 2013.
The government response includes three main changes for recreational prospectors.
New areas for recreational prospecting
Eight new areas in parks will be opened up to recreational prospecting after legislation has been amended to allow this. Maps of the new areas that will be made available for recreational prospecting are available on the VEAC website.
Ban on mechanical devices
- The use of sluices and mechanical (including motorised) devices for processing excavated material will be banned in national parks and other parks managed under the National Parks Act 1975 where recreational prospecting is currently permitted.
- The ban will not apply to metal detectors.
- Mechanical equipment that is currently permitted, can continue to be used outside parks in all other areas where prospecting is currently allowed. VEAC estimated that the area of the state currently available for recreational prospecting outside parks is 4.81 million hectares of state forest and other categories.
Review of new areas
There will be a review of the environmental and cultural heritage impacts of recreational prospecting in the new areas twelve months after they are opened up. This will determine whether or not the new areas remain open for prospecting.
Research into the impacts of recreational prospecting
The need for longer term research will be guided by the 12 month review and may consider the potential effects of recreational prospecting in national and state parks, with a priority on impacts on waterways, ground flora and on Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal heritage.
Miner's right obligations
The training and authorisation of Parks Victoria staff will be reviewed to ensure they can enforce the obligations of recreational prospectors under the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990.
Information and communication
The government will review community information about the areas available for recreational prospecting, heritage responsibilities and safety information and will revise this information as needed.
VEAC's report and other details about the investigation are available from the VEAC website, including maps of the new areas that will be made available for recreational prospecting, subject to a 12 month review.
VEAC's report marked the completion of its role in the process.