Opinion Piece: Time for native vegetation policy to take root

By David Lullfitz


Improving policy and better informing legislators and key decision makers when it comes to Western Australia’s native vegetation is welcomed by Plantrite.

Last month the State Government moved a step closer to broader recognition of native vegetation’s value to our State with the release of its consultation draft Native Vegetation Policy for Western Australia.

This 22-page document is the culmination of input from more than 1000 organisations and individuals across WA.

At its core is the concept of promoting a whole-of-government approach to protecting and enhancing native vegetation in ways that support economy, regional prosperity and on-country jobs, while exploring ongoing opportunities to sequester carbon and protect biodiversity.

It comes at a time both government and the private sector are collectively pivoting their approach to decision making and how it impacts the environment.

Rhetoric and public perception around climate change  – and how it affects people’s way of living – have placed environmental issues and outcomes into sharp focus.

Carbon farming, offsetting and greening initiatives are fast becoming the norm rather than the exception as public and private sector organisations race to meet higher expectations when it comes to addressing environmental issues.

The work we do producing landscape-scale native vegetation is directly addressed in the draft policy and Plantrite is keen to push ecologically sustainable development in our State, particularly when it comes to large infrastructure projects.

Planning for environmentally disruptive activity associated with infrastructure projects must take into account more than just replanting once works are complete.

It shouldn’t come as an afterthought.

Greater attention – and accountability – needs to be put into long-term sustainability of landscaping and how it achieves a greater return on investment, particularly on government projects funded by the taxpayer.

Plantrite feels strongly about this for a variety of reasons and harbors optimism the State Government’s policy will put more focus on protecting and regenerating one of our most valuable and celebrated natural commodities – native vegetation.

As a small business employing more than 50 people, we understand the economic value native vegetation brings to local communities and the State.

But value doesn’t stop with direct employment in our business.

We see the value brought by many more sectors thriving off the healthy ecosystems and biodiversity.

Tourism, scientific research, small business, education, primary industries, recreation, health and wellbeing all benefit from strong natural environments, not least starting with our evolutionary distinct flora.

These value-adds must be recognised by Government, parliamentarians and influential decision makers when considering policy and how it impacts our native vegetation.

Western Australia is home to some of the world’s most interesting and renowned biodiversity hotspots, ecosystems supporting a plethora of native vegetation that need protection and conservation.

Plantrite is proud to be cultivating, supporting, conserving and celebrating WA’s unique native vegetation and wants all stakeholders to share the same approach.

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