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Parks Victoria Draft Land Management Strategy Aspirations and Principles

Draft Aspiration and Guiding Principles

The draft Aspiration and Guiding Principles which will form the foundation of the Land Management Strategy are below. Take a look and discuss them with your community and members.

“Victoria’s parks are resilient, inclusive and valued; conserving nature and cultural heritage; supporting Traditional Owner aspirations; and contributing to healthy communities.”


Maintain and strengthen the parks estate

Statement of Principle

Land will be managed in accordance with the purpose for which it is reserved and to protect its environmental, cultural and social values. All actions should enhance the park estate, be purposeful and embrace design for all. Park management will reflect best practice, and parks will be fit for their identified purpose and function.

Principle Intent

Parks and reserves are established under relevant legislation for particular purposes, including the protection of many and diverse values, and will be managed for those purposes.

The physical connections between parks and other land tenures that provide connected recreation experiences, cultural landscapes and habitat corridors need to be recognised. Connectivity will be improved in parks and with surrounding landscapes and seascapes in collaboration with Traditional Owners and other land managers, non-government organisations and the community.

Prepare for the future

Statement of Principle

Park plans and management will prepare for, and respond to emerging environmental and social issues and anticipate how the park estate will be in the future. This includes responding to forecasted changes resulting from climate change, changing recreational patterns and recognising that more parks and reserves will be transferred to Aboriginal title and be managed according to joint management plans.

Principle Intent

Effective planning anticipates what the future holds and allows for action accordingly.

There will be more formal agreements with Traditional Owners to recognise their rights and connection to country, including by granting Aboriginal title over public land. This change must be planned for and actively supported.

Adapting to the environmental, social and economic changes brought about by climate change will need to be considered, including increased threats from extreme weather on environmental, cultural and visitor experience values. Where areas are undergoing transformation as a consequence of climate change, management will be adjusted to achieve the best environmental outcomes.

The visitor experience will be considered in all aspects of planning, with assets and park settings fit for purpose to meet service commitments and to manage the visitor impact on the estate now and into the future. This includes consideration of increased visitation, changed visitor expectations and new or emerging uses of technology for and by visitors and management of Victoria’s significant historic places.

Connect with community

Statement of Principle

Parks will be inclusive destinations that provide for a range of visitor experiences and access for all. The community will have a variety of ways to engage with, connect to, understand and be active in the parks estate. Parks will be recognised and appreciated not only for their environmental, cultural and landscape values, but also for the services that provide broader community benefits including health and wellbeing, sense of community, clean water, climate regulation, coastal protection and pollination services. Traditional Owner connections to Country will be respected and supported.

Principle Intent

There are diverse ways that the community can enjoy and benefit from the parks estate, through the spectrum of recreation activities, events, tourism activities, education programs and volunteering. Park visitors gain a deeper connection and even a lifelong appreciation of the importance of parks through interpretive and educational experiences.

Diverse and ongoing social and cultural connections to parks will be recognised. Aboriginal and post-contact heritage will be respected through actions that protect sensitive and significant places and recognise stories and intangible values, and the community will have the opportunity to learn about these cultural and historical connections with the landscape. Appropriate use of the park estate encourages the connection between people and nature that in turn can provide health and wellbeing benefits.

Use knowledge and evidence-based management

Statement of Principle

Decisions will be supported by science, knowledge, understanding of risks and community values. Evidence-based management that utilises the best available science and knowledge will be used to deal with uncertainty and drive adaptive management.

Principle Intent

Adaptive management will be supported by clear outcomes and risk-based priorities for park management to address the highest threats to the most important values. Research and evaluation in the parks estate will focus on addressing critical information gaps in understanding environmental and social values and benefits of park as well as quantifying management effectiveness and outcomes. Outcomes will be adjusted based on the evidence by measuring the effectiveness of the actions delivered. Land management will be based as far as possible on the latest research and knowledge.

Traditional Owner knowledge will be used to guide management and be integrated into planning and science. Traditional Owner land management practices and customary uses will be recognised as integral components of knowledge systems.

Protect natural and cultural values

Statement of Principle

The ecological and cultural integrity of the parks estate will be strengthened by being protected and actively conserved to become sustainable and resilient to adapt or recover from the disturbance of major threats.

Principle Intent

The structure and function of ecosystems is fundamental to natural values and the ecosystem services provided by parks. The resilience of parks is maintained and improved when ecosystem processes and threats and managed at the landscape scale.

The core habitat areas for threatened species and ecological communities that parks protect will be improved through active management intervention. Reducing threats to the estate is a core management approach to maintain and improve the condition of the natural capital of the parks estate.

Aboriginal cultural heritage sites will be identified and protected. Where appropriate the community and visitors will be encouraged to understand and appreciate the tangible and intangible cultural values and significance of Country for Aboriginal people, and the importance of maintaining and improving the health of cultural landscapes.

Build Partnerships

Statement of Principle

Partnerships and community involvement that provide mutual benefits to the parks estate and the community will be sought and supported across landscapes. These are to provide mechanisms for effective management and realising emergent opportunities.

Principle Intent

Partnerships with other public land managers, neighbours and many other community, government and corporate organisations, can support more effective and efficient park management through knowledge sharing, better use of resources and proaspiration of value-added services.

Partnerships with Traditional Owners help improve the health of cultural landscapes, recognise their rights and empower their organisations, provide opportunities to incorporate traditional knowledge and practices, and strengthen connection to Country.

Agreements with service providers and licence holders will be developed that complement or add value to the park estate. Aboriginal commercial enterprises will be encouraged and supported.

Promote public safety and adopt a risk-based approach

Statement of Principle

There is an element of risk in experiencing Victoria’s natural environment and the outdoors. Managing risk, including preparing for and managing fire and other threats, responding to emergencies, and appropriately managing risks to park visitors will be a key consideration in park management decision making.

Principle Intent

A safe environment is provided as far as practicable, while recognising that risk and adventure is part of experiencing Victoria’s outdoors. The systematic application of communicating, consulting, establishing the context, and identifying, analysing, evaluating, treating, monitoring and reviewing risk will be used. Risk management will be integrated across tenures, including with the response to fire and other emergencies.

Decisions and actions will be based on sound risk management principles, consistent with the agency’s business objectives and which comply with statutory, legislative and regulatory responsibilities.

All reasonable efforts will be taken to keep visitors safe and provide information to visitors so that they can make informed decisions

Apply rational decision making

Statement of Principle

All strategic decision-making will be characterised by rationality and predictability using, where appropriate, structured decision support systems. Sound judgement will be used to consider all stakeholders involved. All decisions will be consistent with a risk-based approach to meeting the requirements of policies, plans, programmes and legislation.

Principle Intent

Decisions that affect the parks estate and the community’s connection with the estate will be taken to achieve outcomes consistent with the guiding principles and intent of legislation governing the management of the estate. Decisions in parks and reserves will consider benefits for conservation of the environment and cultural heritage, appreciation of park values, be necessary for the management of the park and show that risks to environmental, cultural and social values and public safety can be assessed and managed. Where trade-offs are unavoidable, decisions will be guided by these principles and made transparently.

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