About the Yellingbo Conservation Area
In August 2011, the Minister for Environment and Climate Change requested the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council (VEAC) to investigate public land in the Yellingbo area, focussing on the biodiversity and ecological values, and make recommendations for appropriate management arrangements to conserve and enhance these values. In July 2013, VEAC completed the Yellingbo Investigation Final Report (VEAC report http://www.veac.vic.gov.au/documents/YellingboFINAL_REPORT-interactive-web.pdf ) which made recommendations to recognise the high conservation values in parts of the area and to build on the existing collaboration in managing the land by the community, local governments and State government. The principal recommendation is that areas of Crown land within the investigation area be added to a new Schedule Four A ‘Conservation Landscapes’ created for the protection of fragmented public land within specified landscapes and for the integrated management of the designated land for nature conservation.
In March 2014, the Victorian Government largely accepted the recommendations of the VEAC report and committed to establishing the Yellingbo Conservation Area (YCA). The extent of its acceptance of the recommendations is set out in the Victoria Government Response to the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council’s Yellingbo Investigation Final Report (Government report, https://www.forestsandreserves.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/30049/Victorian-Government-Response-to-VEAC-Yellingbo-Investigation.pdf ).
In October 2015, the Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water established an interdepartmental committee known as the Yellingbo Conservation Area Coordinating Committee (YCACC) to improve coordination and collaboration between land managers and other agencies involved in the management of the Yellingbo Conservation Area; and to establish strategic priorities and clear directions for the area to assist land managers, local government and the community to work in partnership to achieve better environmental outcomes.
From October 2015 to January 2019, YCACC met monthly and provided a forum to coordinate land management actions in the YCA and collaborate between agencies and community members with the strategic view of establishing a new conservation area.
Following an independent review of the Yellingbo Conservation Area Coordinating Committee (YCACC), the Victorian Government has adjusted the committee structure to support the establishment of the Yellingbo Conservation Area. Given that the Yellingbo Conservation Area Draft 10 Year Plan is shifting from planning to implementation over the coming 12 months and it was timely to update the governance arrangements.
YCACC is being replaced with a coordinating committee of land managers and a broader-based community reference group to continue to build on the initiatives of YCACC.
Coordinating committee of land managers
Rather than establish a new committee of land managers, Yarra4Life’s coordination committee will support the Yellingbo Conservation Area as the project moves from a planning phase to an implementation phase. Yarra4Life already provides a collaborative forum for land managers and community groups within the Yarra Valley via its long standing coordination committee.
In addition to its existing role of discussing cross-tenure land management issues and coordinate land management activities more broadly across the Yarra Valley, the committee will now also provide advice to the Department of Environment, Land Water and Planning and Parks Victoria on the implementation of the Yellingbo Conservation Area Draft 10 Year Plan.
A partnership between Yarra4Life and DELWP has been established. The Yarra4Life Coordination Committee will provide advice and opportunities for collaboration to the agencies that are devising and implementing the Draft 10 Year Plan.
A member of DELWP’s Yellingbo Conservation Area Team will join the Yarra4Life Coordination Committee. Matters relating to the implementation of the Draft 10 Year Plan will be addressed as a standing agenda item at meetings.
The Yarra4Life Coordination Committee’s role as an advisory group is to look for ways to improve efficiencies among the land managers for the area, facilitate best-practice land management activities and provide opportunities for integration of cross-tenue land management activities.
For more information on the Yellingbo Conservation Area’s Draft 10 Year Plan please visit: https://engage.vic.gov.au/yellingboconservationarea
Community reference group
DELWP is seeking expressions of interest to join a new Yellingbo Conservation Area Community Reference Group.
The reference group will support DELWP and Parks Victoria as they establish a new Conservation Area in the Yarra Valley and south east Dandenong Ranges by helping understand community views and concerns.
DELWP are particularly looking for individuals who are passionate about their community and have skills in one or more of the following areas: conservation, agriculture and horticulture, recreation, tourism, Aboriginal cultural values, and fire risk management and control.
The group will meet four times per year and a commitment of up to three years would be advantageous.
To find out more about the Reference Group, or to express your interest, visit: http://www.delwp.vic.gov.au/YCACRG