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Ecological Research & Management

Decision Guidelines

The decision guidelines below will be applied by the responsible authority to the three risk-based assessment pathways.

Low risk assessment pathway

An application for removal cannot be refused on biodiversity grounds (unless it is not in accordance with any property vegetation plan that applies to the site). 

Moderate risk assessment pathway

The strategic biodiversity score and habitat importance score of the native vegetation proposed to be removed are considered. Where relevant, the responsible authority will consider whether the proposed development is in accordance with a property vegetation plan.

The responsible authority will consider whether reasonable steps have been taken to ensure that impacts of the proposed removal of native vegetation on Victoria’s biodiversity have been minimised with regard to the contribution to biodiversity made by the native vegetation to be removed and by the native vegetation to be retained.

Reasonable steps are considered to have been taken when one of the following applies:

  • The site has been the subject of a comprehensive DELWP-supported regional or landscape scale strategic planning process that has resulted in minimising adverse impacts on biodiversity from the removal of native vegetation
  • Opportunities have been taken to locate, design and manage the project to minimise impacts on biodiversity from the removal of native vegetation, and there is sufficient evidence that any further actions to minimise impacts on biodiversity from the removal of native vegetation will:
    • Undermine the key objectives of the project; or
    • Materially increase the cost of the project

The responsible authority will also consider whether an offset has been identified that meets requirements.

High risk assessment pathway

In addition to the moderate risk pathway requirements, the responsible authority will consider whether the native vegetation to be removed makes a significant contribution to Victoria’s biodiversity. This includes considering:

  • Impacts on important habitat for rare or threatened species, particularly highly localised habitat.
  • Proportional impacts on remaining habitat for rare or threatened species
  • If the removal of the native vegetation will contribute to a cumulative impact that is a significant threat to the persistence of a rare or threatened species.
  • The availability of, and potential for, gain from offsets.