|Description of this FunctionDescription of this Function|
The Land Conservation Council was established in 1971 to replace the Land Utilisation Advisory Council, formed in 1950 at the same time as the Soil Conservation Authority. The Advisory Council's functions were to define catchment areas and advise the Minister and the Soil Conservation Authority on land use in any catchment area. In 1966 the Land Utilisation Advisory Council was charged with recommending the best uses of Crown lands in Victoria. There was no provision for public participation on the Council, however, and as a result of public interest in land-use management and the controversy over the future of the Little Desert, the Land Conservation Act 1970 was passed and the Land Conservation Council established to carry out investigations and make recommendations to the Minister on the balanced use of public land throughout Victoria.
The Land Conservation Act 1970 required that the recommendations made must take into account the present and future needs of the people of Victoria in relation to :
preservation of ecologically significant areas
conservation of areas of natural interest, beauty, or historical interest
creation and preservation of areas of reserved forests, areas for leisure and recreation and reserves for fish and wildlife
preservation of species of native plants
land required by government departments and public authorities in order to carry out their functions
In conducting investigations and making recommendations to the Minister on the use of public land, the Council undertook the following steps:
Publication of notice of the Council's intention to commence an investigation in an area in the Government Gazette and local and state newspapers.
Preparation of a factual descriptive report by officers of the Council providing a basis for public submissions.
Invitation to individuals and interested bodies to make written submissions on the balanced use of the public land in question within 60 or 90 days after publication of the report.
Consideration by Council of the report and all submissions.
Drafting of set of proposed recommendations.
Publication of proposed recommendations.
Consideration of submissions sent in response to publication of draft recommendations followed by final recommendations to the Minister.
Tabling of final recommendation in both houses of Parliament.
The Minister might then notify government agencies affected by the recommendations of her/his intention to accept the recommendations. At least 14 days after this notification the Governor-in-Council might direct government bodies to implement those recommendations that affect land for which they had management responsibility.
Environment Conservation Council
In 1997 the Land Conservation Act 1970 was repealed by the Environment Conservation Council Act with the Land Conservation Council being replaced by the Environment Conservation Council.
This new Council was to conduct investigations into the balanced use or development of public land or any flora, fauna or minerals on or under the land. Investigations were to be at the request of the Minister. Copies of Ministerial requests were to be tabled in Parliament and published in the Government Gazette. Notices of investigations were to be published by the Council with any persons able to make submissions to the Council. The Council was to report to the Minister with a copy of the report to be tabled in Parliament. In conducting investigations the Council was to take into account:
the ability of any existing or proposed development to be ecologically sustainable and economically viable;
the social and economic value of any development;
the needs of conservation and protection
the need for the creation and preservation of parks and reserves
any international obligations entered into by the Commonwealth or other States and Territories and
the need to protect and conserve biodiversity.