Second reading debate: Crown Land Legislation Amendment Bill 2016

I rise to speak to the Crown Land Legislation Amendment Bill 2016. The bill has the purpose of altering the enforcement of infringements under the Conservation, Forests and Lands Act 1987, the Land Act 1958, the Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978 and the Land Conservation (Vehicle Control) Act 1972. The bill improves dated regulation, makes power in the Crown Land (Reserves) Act a feature, updates the regulation-making power in the Land Act relating to fees and makes additional minor or consequential amendments and corrections.

It pleases me to see the improvements made in this amending bill because I think it is really important that as a community we make the management of the landscape a high priority as a way to respect and show that the future is something we must be thinking about all the time. Managing the landscape is something that we will always have to prioritise, and particularly in regional Victoria the community members do see it as a high priority, as of course do my counterparts in the city. Farmers in particular, as I have been in the past, have always prioritised management of the land, so the areas of Crown land are of particular importance.

We see that people want to enjoy the landscape, and that is why we have set aside areas of land like, in my electorate, Mount Eccles National Park, which my colleague has just spoken about, where you can enjoy the landscape around an old volcano and the caves that are there. Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve is frequently used by people wanting to increase their enjoyment of the landscape and to increase their fitness. Just down the road from me we have the Wickham bush, which has some fauna that is not found anywhere else in the world. So there are some really precious environmental assets that must be protected.

But of course sometimes we see people who do not understand the value of protecting these assets and who sometimes do not take into consideration the result of their actions. By going off-road when there are tracks that have been made for people to enjoy the landscape, people are doing damage to the flora and fauna. We need to have penalties that reflect that that is not going to be tolerated at all in today’s society. So making people feel that a penalty is something they do not want to encounter rather than a pathetic fine that is not worth worrying about is a very, very important way of making people aware of their responsibilities.

The dumping of rubbish is something we are seeing a lot of today, with the cost of rubbish being hard for people to manage, but the landscape is not the place for it to be dumped in, and so the fines reflecting that is a really big improvement that I am quite happy to endorse. It is good to see that in this place we are taking landscape management as seriously as we are. I am happy to talk today to make sure that this bill goes through and indicate that we are not opposing it.