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Protection of the environment is a shared responsibility of all levels of government and industry, business and the community.

Victorian councils undertake a range of activities in order to protect and enhance their local environment, including climate change adaptation and mitigation, and management of waste, water, native vegetation, and roadside weeds and pests.

We support council environmental activities through policy analysis, advice and advocacy, project support and management, and by building collaborative relationships with other levels of government and key stakeholders.

We also host capacity-building and networking events and topic-based workshops.

We support three local government associations with specific environmental interests: the Association of Bayside Municipalities, Timber Towns Victoria and the National Timber Councils Association.

Environment news

2015-16 achievements

  • Strong MAV advocacy, alongside councils and other stakeholders led to the Australian Energy Regulator deciding not to reclassify all dedicated public street lighting as 'negotiated services' for 2016-2020, ensuring continued regulatory oversight and Distributed Network Services Providers being held to account on pricing issues.
  • We have responded to a multitude of State-led environment reviews and reforms that are underway. Matters raised in MAV submissions to the Renewable Energy Roadmap and the Climate Change Act review have been picked up by the Government in their response. We also welcome inclusion of street lighting as an eligible activity under the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target Scheme, as advocated by the MAV.
  • Through participation in the DELWP Native Vegetation Clearing Regulations Working Group, we protected local government's interests and ensured councils' preferred outcomes were reflected in the State's Native vegetation regulation discussion paper to improve operation of the regulations and strengthen the policy framework.
  • We secured a funded position at the MAV to coordinate local government input to the development and implementation of a new Victoria Water Plan, as well as explore innovative water solutions through better collaboration.
  • Following MAV advocacy, the State's new Floodplain Management Strategy agreed to take a leadership role and assist in streamlining processes for planning scheme amendments. The MAV continues to seek clarification that large-scale flood mitigation infrastructure should be the primary responsibility of water authorities. 

Independent inquiry into the Environment Protection Authority

In May 2015, the Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water appointed a Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) to undertake an independent inquiry into the Environment Protection Authority (EPA).

In accordance with the Terms of Reference for the inquiry, the MAC was tasked with considering EPA's appropriate role in relation to protecting public health and the environment, and the best way to combine this environmental protection role with economic viability and jobs growth. The MAC examined the EPA's role, powers, governance, funding, and tools.

The inquiry commenced on 1 June 2015. The MAC released a discussion paper (PDF - 255KB) and undertook extensive consultation with stakeholders and the community.

The MAV was a member of the Community and Industry Advisory Group established by the MAC to be a forum for exchanging and testing views. The MAV also met individually with the MAC and provided a submission (PDF - 421KB) in response to the discussion paper.

The inquiry concluded on 31 March 2016 when the MAC delivered its report (PDF - 4.27MB) to the Minister. The report was released publicly on 16 May.

The MAV has prepared a Members brief (Word - 249KB) to highlight key points of interest in the report for local government.

Inquiry into Unconventional Gas in Victoria

The Legislative Council's Environment and Planning Committee has tabled its final report for its inquiry into unconventional gas in Victoria.

The committee considered matters relating to the exploration, extraction, production and rehabilitation of onshore unconventional gas.

The MAV's submission to the inquiry (Word - 308KB) drew extensively on reports prepared by the Surf Coast Shire Council, Colac Otway Shire Council, City of Greater Geelong and Bass Coast Shire Council and we'd like to acknowledge and thank those councils for sharing their work.

The MAV's position is that unconventional gas exploration should not occur unless:

  • social and environmental impacts are definitively demonstrated not to be detrimental
  • an appropriate level of community support is evident
  • there is an appropriate regulatory framework in place to ensure protection of the natural environment, local communities, rural industries and private property rights.

MAV submissions to Government on environmental management

Recent MAV submissions on environmental management include:

MAV submissions
Date Topic
​May 2016 Submission to the 'Water for Victoria' discussion paper (Word - 375KB)
May 2016 Submission to 'Protecting Victoria's Environment: Biodiversity 2036' (Word - 337KB)
April 2016 ​Submission to the Review of the Native Vegetation Clearing Regulations (Word - 345KB)
​December 2015 Submission to the Sustainability Fund Draft Priority Statement (Word - 308KB)
November 2015 Submission to the EPA inquiry into its future role (PDF - 421.5KB)
October 2015 Submission to the 'Managing e-waste in Victoria' discussion paper (Word - 301KB)
September 2015 Submission to Victoria's Renewable Energy Roadmap (Word - 313KB)
August 2015 Submission to the Review of the Climate Change Act 2010 (Word - 308KB)
July 2015 Submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Unconventional Gas in Victoria (Word - 308KB)
May 2015 Submission to the Setting Future Victorian Energy Efficiency Targets consultation paper (Word - 306KB)

MAV Environment Bulletin

We has recently relaunched our Environment Bulletin in order to help keep members and other interested parties better informed regarding local government environment-related news and events.

Access past editions and subscribe to future editions via our bulletins page.

Environmental Sustainability Yammer Group

The MAV Environmental Sustainability Group on Yammer is a forum for council officers to share ideas and collaborate on environmental issues.

Local Government Sustainability website

Visit our Local government sustainability website to share your work or see what other Victorian councils are doing about sustainability in the built and natural environments.

Internal links

Contact us

For more information about our environmental policy work, contact:

Claire Dunn
Manager – Environment and Regulatory Services
03 9667 5533