Committee for Native Vegetation (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2013

14 Nov 2013 speecharchive

Committee Stage of Native Vegetation (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2013

Committee stage

In committee.

Clause 1.

The Hon. R.L. BROKENSHIRE: To advise you, Mr Chairman, and my colleagues, the Hon. Ann Bressington has filed some amendments and is unwell. She has sent a message asking if I would take her amendments through for her, so I will do that.

Clause passed.

Clauses 2 to 5 passed.

New clause 5A.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I move:

Amendment No 1 [Lensink–2]—

Page 3, after line 29— After clause 5 insert:

5A—Insertion of section 4A

After section 4 insert:

4A—Interaction with Fire and Emergency Services Act 2005

In the event of an inconsistency between this Act and the Fire and Emergency Services Act 2005 , the Fire and Emergency Services Act 2005 will prevail to the extent of the inconsistency.

As honourable members would know from my speech, I indicated that we had a couple of new amendments so there is a second set which is a consolidated set which has been filed. This amendment will insert into the act a new section 4A. The purpose of this is to clarify that if there is inconsistency between the Native Vegetation Act and the Fire and Emergency Services Act, the latter will prevail. This is to ensure that in matters where there may be conflicts between the acts, the safety of human life must take precedence over the preservation of native vegetation.

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: The government is happy to accept the amendment as it basically outlines the current course that pertains, so for those reasons we accept the amendment.

New clause inserted.

New clause 5A.

The Hon. R.L. BROKENSHIRE: I move:

Amendment No 1 [Bressington–1]— New clause

Page 3, after line 29— Insert:

5A—Insertion of Part 1A

After section 5 insert:

Part 1A—Duty not to increase fire risk

5A—Duty not to increase fire risk

(1) A person who is engaged in the administration, operation or enforcement of this Act must not—

(a) perform a function, or exercise a power, in a manner; or

(b) take action, or require another person to take action,

that would substantially increase the risk or severity of fire on particular land.

(2) Despite section 30 of the Acts Interpretation Act 1915 , the mandatory penalty for an offence against subsection (1) is a f ine of $5, 000.

(3) In proceedings for an offence against subsection (1), it is a defence for the defendant to prove that he or she did not know, and could not reasonably have been expected to have known, that the performance of the function or exercise of the power, or action taken or required, that is the subject of the charge would substantially increase the risk or severity of fire on the relevant land.

(4) The mandatory penalty prescribed by subsection (2) cannot be reduced or mitigated in any way or be substituted by any other penalty or sentence.

This amendment puts an overarching duty into the act that native vegetation authorities must not increase the risk or severity of fire on particular land. There is no clarity on what 'particular land' means so I assume it means all land, and it makes it a $5,000 fine offence for heightening the fire risk. There are also defence provisions in the wording.

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: To assist the committee, I might indicate that the government will be opposing all Bressington amendments and, dependent on what the opposition determines for its position as well, that might save us some time and deliberation. However, in terms of this amendment, the government opposes it, of course.

The government has taken significant steps to mitigate the risk and danger of bushfires at the interface between native vegetation and human activity. There are already requirements in place under the Fire and Emergency Services Act 2005 for landowners and managers to mitigate the risk or occurrence of bushfire on their properties and the amendments made to the Native Vegetation Regulations in 2009, i.e. the introduction of regulation 5A, facilitate a landowner or manager to do so.

The responsibility in managing a property for bushfire risk is not confined to simply removing native vegetation from a property: it is about managing all flammable material, including weeds or non-native species, and this is an issue for determination by those with the relevant expertise, who we suggest is the South Australian Country Fire Service.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: The Liberal opposition will not be supporting this amendment because we think that the grounds exist that there is a general duty of care not to act in a malicious or negligent manner and therefore this amendment would be redundant, for want of a better word. We also will not be supporting any of the other amendments of the Hon. Ann Bressington, but I think it would be useful to put our comments on the record to provide the honourable member with an explanation at each of those junctures.

The Hon. R.L. BROKENSHIRE: I could not quite hear the minister. Did the minister say that not only would he not be supporting the Bressington amendments but he would not be supporting the Liberals amendments?

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: No, that is not the case. I have already supported amendments in the name of the Hon. Michelle Lensink, and I will be supporting more. I am just giving an indication to the chamber that none of the Hon. Ann Bressington's amendments will be supported by the government.

The Hon. R.L. BROKENSHIRE: Based on the minister's overview, that everything is in hand when it comes to legislation regarding property owners, including the Crown, cleaning up and protecting their land from the point of view of bushfires, I will just put on the public record that the minister may want to have an urgent talk to his cabinet, because you only have to drive to Port Wakefield or up to Willunga Hill to see two examples of where the government has done diddly squat in bushfire prevention thus far. It all starts in a big way on 1 December.

New clause negatived.

Clause 6.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I move:

Amendment No 2 [Lensink–2]—

Page 3, lines 30 to 36— This clause will be opposed

I will just explain this amendment. The Native Vegetation Act obviously falls under the list of acts committed to the Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation. It has quite a degree of independence in that it has the Native Vegetation Council, which is responsible for making decisions and hearing appeals in the first instance.

The act, as I understand it, is currently silent as to whether the minister may intervene in relation to certain matters. The Liberal Party thinks that it is useful for the act to continue to not explicitly outline that the government may not direct the Native Vegetation Council in respect of certain matters. So, for those reasons, I endorse this amendment to the council.

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: The intent of the new section, which the Hon. Ms Lensink wishes to delete, was to provide the minister with the capacity to set the general direction for the Native Vegetation Council, but would not allow directions to be given in relation to specific decisions, advice or recommendations that the council may make. The government believes that that is a sensible provision; however, I have listened to the concerns of the Hon. Michelle Lensink in our conversations and have decided, on balance, to accept her amendment.

Clause negatived.

Clause 7.

The CHAIR: There are multiple amendments to clause 7, so I am just trying to work through them.

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: We could make things a little bit easier for the Chair.

The CHAIR: Why didn't you say that in the first place?

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: I will make a few comments, if I could.

The CHAIR: Minister, make things easier for me.

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: There are a number of amendments in place to section 8—Membership of the Council. What I will be doing is proposing my amendment, which effectively takes into consideration amendments that the Hon. Michelle Lensink was to move: amendments [Lensink-2] 3 and [Lensink-2] 4. My amendment will incorporate elements of hers, and I hope that they will be acceptable to the Liberals and, therefore, she will not need to move her own. We will be accepting amendment No. 1 from Mr Darley and opposing the amendments in the name of Mr Brokenshire.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: The minister is correct, and if I could just explain: we had some amendments that were filed previously, and they were to increase the membership of the Native Vegetation Council to include a representative from SACOME. We think it is important that the mining sector has a voice on the Native Vegetation Council, because it is increasingly one of the key stakeholders in this issue. The model I put up was to increase the membership of the Native Vegetation Council from seven to eight.

The minister had an amendment which would substitute a former commonwealth appointment with a person from the development community, and I understand his amendment will incorporate both of those, so it will be one from either/or sector. I still think both deserve some representation, but in the interests of reaching some compromise so that we can progress this bill, we are happy to accept the minister's amendments.

The Hon. R.L. BROKENSHIRE: I hear what the minister is saying. I put on the public record that, whilst each minister has the right to make their own decisions, the former minister did, when the bill was hanging around before (it is quite an old bill), indicate that the government would support my amendment regarding the CFS chief coming on. I ask the minister why he is deciding to approve, rather than the CFS chief, someone from SACOME?

The Hon. J.M.A. Lensink: No, it's not. It's not what I said. You should read his amendment.

The Hon. I.K. Hunter: I'll answer it.

The Hon. R.L. BROKENSHIRE: Alright, if you can answer it, and the second thing, before you get on your feet (as I would hate to think I was getting you up and down all morning): can you explain why the government will not, just from a housekeeping viewpoint, support removing SAFF and putting on PPSA, because SAFF is no longer an organisation—it is now PPSA?

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: I think I can make the Hon. Mr Brokenshire happy on both counts. I move:

Amendment No 1

Page 4, lines 1 to 4— Delete clause 7 and substitute:

7—Amendment of section 8—Membership of Council

(1) Section 8(1)(b)—delete 'the South Australian Farmers Federation Incorporated' and substitute:

Primary Producers SA Incorporated

(2) Section 8(1)(f)—delete paragraph (f) and substitute:

(f) 1 must be a person with extensive knowledge of, and experience in, planning, development or mining nominated by the Minister; and

(3) Section 8(3)—delete 'the South Australian Farmers Federation Incorporated' and substitute:

Primary Producers SA Incorporated

This amendment deletes clause 7 of the bill. It does two things: first, it recognises a change from what is now Primary Producers SA Incorporated and updates the act to recognise that change. Secondly, it alters the criteria for replacement of the member of the Native Vegetation Council nominated by the commonwealth government. In 2006 the commonwealth minister for the environment advised the then South Australian minister for environment and conservation that the commonwealth no longer wished to provide a nomination for the Native Vegetation Council. This clause replaces that member with a person with extensive knowledge of and experience in planning, development or mining, as nominated by the minister, with the responsibility for the Native Vegetation Act. This amendment includes mining in the criteria proposed by the bill.

In making this amendment the government has had regard to the amendments proposed by the Hon. Ms Lensink in respect to Native Vegetation Council membership. Planning, development or mining expertise is considered relevant to this policy role of the council, and a significant amount of authorised clearance is a result of development and mining. This clause allows for the nomination of persons from any sector, provided that nominees have the appropriate expertise. The appointment is made by the minister responsible for the act.

In relation to the CFS, we will come to that in again in relation to further amendments from the Hon. Mr Brokenshire. My advice is that the CFS is very comfortable with its observer's position and does not want to be a member of the committee.

The Hon. M. PARNELL: The provisions in section 8 for the membership of the council are a mixture of quasi representation and qualification base. You have a number of bodies that are entitled to nominate panels of people from which the government chooses one that it is happy to go on. That is the situation with what was the farmers federation and will now be primary producers, the Conservation Council, the NRM Council and also the Local Government Association. Those four bodies get to put three names forward, and the minister chooses a person from the list of three.

You then have the clause now being proposed to be replaced, which is a person nominated by the commonwealth minister for the environment. It would come as no surprise to anyone that, even before the change of government, the commonwealth has zero interest in being on this Native Vegetation Council for the state. Given what the federal government is currently doing, in trying to divest itself of all environmental responsibility, I think it is even more the case now than it was when these provisions were first drafted.

Then we get down to the final two positions on the board. The existing paragraph (g) talks about 'a person with extensive knowledge of and experience in the preservation and management of native vegetation nominated by the minister'. Now, that person could be a miner. It could be someone who works for Santos or BHP in their environmental section whose job it is to store topsoil, to make sure that revegetation and rehabilitation programs are undertaken properly or to manage the environmental impact of their exploration activities. The existing (g)—if the minister really wants a miner to be on the Native Vegetation Council—enables it to do it. The Hon. Michelle Lensink's amendment basically particularly identifies mining and seeks to put—

The Hon. J.M.A. Lensink: I won't be moving it.

The Hon. M. PARNELL: No, I know. Sorry, the Hon. Michelle Lensink is not moving hers but I am just trying to work out where we are going with this and what the outcome might be for the composition of the council. The Hon. Michelle Lensink had flagged that a miner would be appropriate. The government's compromise is this new paragraph (f):

1 must be a person with extensive knowledge of, and experience in, planning, development or mining...

They are three potentially unrelated fields and the words are vague enough so that effectively anyone that the government wants to appoint could be appointed. I am not sure we get a whole lot of value out of that.

From the Greens' perspective, we would not have thought that having an identified mining person—they would say it is 'expert'—is of great value to the Native Vegetation Council. We can see that a person with experience in planning, if those skills did not already exist on the council, might add value. Development—again, what does it mean?

It seems to me that in the quest for a compromise we have planners, developers and miners lumped in to a new paragraph (f) with the people under (g) who are people who just have to know a bit about native vegetation anyway. At the end of the day, let's not kid ourselves, the government is going to appoint to this Native Vegetation Council who it wants to appoint, and they will be made to fit into one of these categories without too much grief.

We are not going to oppose the amendment—I can see how it has been developed—but I do want to put on the record that we do not see any particular value in having a nominated mining expert put into the Native Vegetation Council. We do not think that that criteria adds value. That is not to say that there are not people involved in mining who might not be appropriate to put on, but pulling that one out, identifying it as a particular category of expertise I do not think adds value to the council.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: The honourable member is probably aware of this anyway because I know he understands how to interpret legislation, bills and so forth fairly well. The government has compromised to include mining because the original clause referred to planning and development. I cannot see—and this is probably just a comment probably in response more than anything—how mining is any less legitimate than having primary industries or development on there. There is extensive exploration in areas of the West Coast and Far North and so forth.

I don't want to be political here, Mark, I am sorry, but we know that the Greens will take every opportunity to put roadblocks and difficulties in the way of the mining sector in this state. However, quite frankly, you have to work with industry and it needs to have a place at the table. You cannot just exclude them from things and hope that the state is going to progress. With those comments, I thank the minister for incorporating the compromise.

My interpretation of clause (g) of the membership of the council would be that that person would be more likely, if they are an expert, to be in favour of the retention of native vegetation and understand the complexity of it rather than someone who wants to bulldoze it all.

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: Chairman, in a further attempt to assist you, I have sought advice on how to proceed with this raft of amendments. I seek leave of the committee to move the amendment in amended form, as follows:

New proposed clause 7(2)—Insert after 'Minister' the words 'after consultation with the Minister for Planning'.

That will bring into effect the amendment in the name of Mr Darley without him needing to move it. And also:

Insert new subclause (4), which reads:

(4) Section 8, after subsection (7)—insert:

(8) I n this section 'Minister for Planning' means the minister who has the portfolio responsibility for urban and regional planning within the state.

Thus, in one move, I have incorporated amendments in the name of Ms Lensink and Mr Darley and the government.

The CHAIR: The Hon. Mr Darley, do you accept that?

The Hon. J.A. DARLEY: In view of the minister's comments, I will not be moving my amendment.

The CHAIR: The Hon. Mr Brokenshire, you still have an amendment.

The Hon. R.L. BROKENSHIRE: In view of obviously an arrangement between the two big machines in this chamber on this occasion, similar to NRM where we saw the same thing, I will be withdrawing my amendment and the consequential amendments to save some time.

Amendment as amended carried; clause as amended passed.

Clause 8.

The Hon. R.L. BROKENSHIRE: Amendment No. 2 [Brokenshire-1] is consequential and I have foreshadowed withdrawing anything consequential to my original amendment on the membership of the council. I withdraw anything that is consequential.

Clause passed.

The CHAIR: Hon. Mr Brokenshire, you have a new clause to insert. Can you indicate whether you view that as consequential?

The Hon. R.L. BROKENSHIRE: It is a consequential amendment, I withdraw it.

Clause 9 passed.

Clause 10.

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: I move:

Amendment No 1 

Page 4, after line 28— Insert:

(1a) Section 21(3a)—delete 'section 28(3)(b)(iii)' and substitute ' section 28(3)(b)(ii)(C) '

(1b) Section 21(3a)—delete 'section 28(3)(b)(iia)' and substitute ' section 28(3)(b)(ii)(A) '

These amendments are consequential to the amendments to existing section 28 relating to the third-party significant environment benefit offset amendments and maintain the situation of the retention of the prescribed fee by a body acting under delegation. I note that the Hon. Ms Lensink has proposed an amendment which is exactly the same, [Lensink-2] 5, and so I will be withdrawing this amendment and advise the government will support Ms Lensink's amendment.

Amendment withdrawn.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I move:

Amendment No 5

Page 4, after line 28— After subclause (1) insert:

(1a) Section 21(3a)—delete 'section 28(3)(b)(iii)' and substitute ' section 28(3)(b)(ii)(C) '

(1b) Section 21(3a)—delete 'sectio n 28(3)(b)(iia)' and substitute ' section 28(3)(b)(ii)(A) '

I indicate that they relate to significant environmental benefits in third-party offsets.

Amendment carried; clause as amended passed.

Clause 11.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I move:

Amendment No 6 

Page 6, line 3 [clause 11, inserted paragraph (d)]— Delete inserted paragraph (d) and substitute:

(d) clearing vegetation by the process commonly known as a cold burn; and

(e) any other matter required by the regulations.

I indicate that this amendment enables the clearance of vegetation via a process known as cold burns. There has been a lot of discussion in the general community, I think, about the benefit of cold burns, and the Liberal Party believes that they can be a very useful tool not just in the matter of reducing fuel loads but indeed for the benefit of the regeneration of native vegetation.

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: Clause 11 of the bill relates to the amendment of section 25 of the act, which sets the process for the Native Vegetation Council preparing and adopting guidelines. Clause 11(2) proposes to insert into the act an additional matter on which the council must prepare guidelines and any other matter required by the regulations.

The Hon. Ms Lensink's amendment retains the amendment proposed by the bill but proposes an additional matter: guidelines relating to cold burns. The government is prepared to accept this amendment as a consequential amendment allowing for guidelines for cold burns as it is prepared to accept part of Ms Lensink's later amendment [Lensink-2] 7, where that amendment also relates to cold burns.

The Hon. R.L. BROKENSHIRE: In relation to these two amendments, I indicate that, relative to all the discussion I have had in this house over a period of time, Family First supports anything to initiate more cold burn opportunities to reduce fuel load. I also place on the public record that this bill has been around for a long time, but at 8.42 this morning the government, having being alerted to the fact after we tabled our amendment that, from a drafting point of view, SAFA has been changed to PPSA, put forward an amendment. I put it on the record that it has been a bit of slack work on the government's behalf when it comes to this.

Amendment carried.

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: I move:

Amendment No 2 

Page 6, after line 6—After subclause (3) insert:

(4) Section 25(2)(f)—delete 'the South Australian Farmers Federation Incorporated' and substitute:

Primary Producers SA Incorporated

This further amendment is necessitated by the change from the South Australian Farmers Federation to Primary Producers SA Incorporated. Section 25 of the act sets the process for the Native Vegetation Council preparing and adopting guidelines under the act. One of those criteria is providing the draft guidelines to the South Australian Farmers Federation. This amendment changes that reference to refer to Primary Producers SA Incorporated.

Amendment carried; clause as amended passed.

New clause 11A.

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: I move:

Amendment No 2

Page 6, after line 6— Insert:

11A—Insertion of Part 4A

After section 25 insert:

Part 4A—Credit, assignment and third party establishment of environmental benefits

25A—Credit for environmental benefits

(1) If—

(a) a person—

(i) has achieved an environmental benefit (not being a benefit required in relation to a consent to clear native vegetation or under any other requirement under this Act); or

(ii) has, in accordance with a consent to clear native vegetation, achieved an environmental benefit that exceeds the value of the minimum benefit needed to offset the loss of the cleared vegetation; and

(b) the Council is satisfied that the benefit or excess benefit (as the case requires) is of a significant value,

the Council may, for the purposes of this Act—

(c) credit the person with having achieved an environmental benefit of a value determined by the Council (whether monetary or otherwise); and

(d) take into account and apply the value of the credit (adjusted to reflect the value, in the Council's opinion, of the native vegetation the subject of the credit at the time it is so applied) to—

(i) an amount of environmental benefit the person must achieve; or

(ii) an amount of compensation proposed to be paid into the Fund under section 28(4); or

(iii) an amount to be paid into the Fund under any other provision of this Act as an alternative to achieving an environmental benefit.

(2) In determining the value of an excess benefit contemplated by subsection (1)(a)(ii), the Council must have regard to the approximate difference between the value of the environmental benefit achieved by the person and the value of the environmental benefit that would, in the Council's opinion, have been the minimum the person would have been required to achieve in the circumstances.

25B—Assignment of credit

(1) Subject to this section, a person credited under section 25A with having achieved an environmental benefit (the assignor ) may, with the written approval of the Council, assign the whole or part of the credit to another person or body (the assignee ).

(2) An application for approval under subsection (1)—

(a) must be made in a manner and form determined by the Council; and

(b) must be accompanied by such information as the Council may reasonably require; and

(c) must be accompanied by the prescribed fee.

(3) The Council must not give its approval under subsection (1) unless the assignor has complied with any requirement of the Council to do 1 or more of the following:

(a) enter into a heritage agreement in respect of the native vegetation that is the subject of the credit to be assigned;

(b) enter into a management agreement under section 25D in respect of the native vegetation that is the subject of the credit to be assigned.

(4) Before giving its approval under subsection (1), the Council must have regard to any Regional Biodiversity Plan or Plans approved by the Minister that apply within any region relevant to the application.

(5) An approval may be conditional or unconditional.

(6) A condition of an approval is binding on, and enforceable against—

(a) the assignor; and

(b) all owners and occupiers, and subsequent owners and occupiers, of the land on which the native vegetation that is the subject of the assigned credit is growing or situated.

(7) The Council may, by notice in writing, vary or revoke a condition of an approval.

(8) An approval remains in force for the period specified by the Council in the approval, or for such longer period as the Council may fix on application by the assignor or assignee.

(9) The Council must inform the Registrar-General in writing of all conditions imposed under this section that relate to land and must provide the Registrar-General with such further information as the Registrar-General requires to comply with subsection (10).

(10) The Registrar-General must note the conditions against the relevant instrument of title for the land or, in the case of land not under the Real Property Act 1886 , against the land.

(11) The Registrar-General must, on the application of the Council after the variation or revocation of a condition under this section, vary or cancel a note under subsection (10) (but must otherwise ensure that the note is not removed once made).

(12) For the purposes of this Act—

(a) credit assigned under this section will be taken to be credit of the assignee;

(b) an assignment of credit that contravenes this section is, unless the Council determines otherwise, void and of no effect.

25C—Achievement of environmental benefit by accredited third party provider

(1) Subject to this section, a requirement under this Act that an environmental benefit be achieved by a person (the proponent ) may, with the written approval of the Council, be satisfied by means of the achievement of the environmental benefit by an accredited third party provider.

(2) An application for approval under subsection (1)—

(a) must be made in a manner and form determined by the Council; and

(b) must be accompanied by such information as the Council may reasonably require; and

(c) must be accompanied by the prescribed fee.

(3) The Council must not give its approval under subsection (1) unless the accredited third party provider—

(a) has entered into a management agreement under section 25D in respect of the native vegetation comprising the environmental benefit; and

(b) has complied with any other requirements prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this section.

(4) Before giving its approval under subsection (1), the Council must have regard to any Regional Biodiversity Plan or Plans approved by the Minister that apply within any region relevant to the application.

(5) An approval may be conditional or unconditional.

(6) A condition of an approval is binding on, and enforceable against—

(a) the accredited third party provider; and

(b) all owners and occupiers, and subsequent owners and occupiers, of the land on which the native vegetation comprising the environmental benefit is growing or situated.

(7) The Council may, by notice in writing, vary or revoke a condition of an approval.

(8) An approval remains in force for the period specified by the Council in the approval, or for such longer period as the Council may fix on application by the proponent or provider.

(9) The Council must inform the Registrar-General in writing of all conditions imposed under this section that relate to land and must provide the Registrar-General with such further information as the Registrar-General requires to comply with subsection (10).

(10) The Registrar-General must note the conditions against the relevant instrument of title for the land or, in the case of land not under the Real Property Act 1886 , against the land.

(11) The Registrar-General must, on the application of the Council after the variation or revocation of a condition under this section, vary or cancel a note under subsection (10) (but must otherwise ensure that the note is not removed once made).

(12) In this section—

accredited third party provider means a person or body accredited for the purposes of this section in accordance with the regulations.

25D—Management agreements

(1) The Minister may enter into a management agreement with—

(a) an assignor of credit under section 25B; or

(b) an accredited third party provider of an environmental benefit under section   25C.

(2) A management agreement may contain such provisions for the management of the relevant native vegetation as the Minister thinks fit, including (without limiting the generality of this subsection)—

(a) requiring specified work or work of a specified kind to be carried out in accordance with specified standards on the land on which the relevant native vegetation is growing or situated (the subject land ); and

(b) restricting the nature of work or other activities that may be carried out on the subject land.

(3) A management agreement attaches to the subject land and is binding on the current owner of the subject land whether or not that owner was the person with whom the agreement was made.

(4) The Minister may, by agreement with the owner of the subject land to which a management agreement applies, vary or terminate the agreement.

(5) A management agreement is, to the extent specified in the agreement, binding on the occupier of the subject land.

(6) The Minister must not enter into, vary or terminate a management agreement under this section without first consulting and obtaining the approval of the Council.

(7) If the Minister enters into a management agreement, or an agreement varying or terminating a management agreement, the Registrar-General must, on application by the Minister, note the agreement against the relevant instrument of title or, in the case of subject land not under the Real Property Act 1886 , against the land (and, subject to an appropriate application under this subsection, must ensure that the note is not removed once made).

(8) In this section—

relevant native vegetation means the native vegetation that is the subject of credit assigned under section 25B or that comprises the environmental benefit achieved, or to be achieved, by the accredited third party provider under section 25C (as the case requires).

25E—Register

(1) The Council must keep a register for the purposes of this Part.

(2) The register must contain the information required by the regulations in relation to—

(a) each credit under section 25A; and

(b) each application of credit toward the matters contemplated by section 25A(1)(d); and

(c) each assignment of credit under section 25B; and

(d) each achievement of an environmental benefit by accredited third party provider under section 25C; and

(e) each management agreement under section 25D,

and may contain any other information the Council thinks fit.

(3) The register must be kept available for public inspection, without fee, at the office of the Council during ordinary office hours.

I might at this stage put on the record part of a discussion I have had with the opposition on a set of amendments that flow through on this topic. They are largely similar. The two versions in the name of Hunter and Lensink are the same in terms of both contemplating the assignment of credit and the establishment and use of third parties. The subject matter is essentially the same; however, they are drafted slightly differently and there are additional inserts in the government's set of amendments which are not picked up by the Hon. Ms Lensink's amendments.

Essentially, the government's amendments put into legislation a number of things which the Hon. Ms Lensink is proposing to leave to regulation. I think that we have arrived at a position in discussion. The Hon. Ms Lensink can confirm that for her party herself, but the government will be progressing with its amendments instead of her amendments.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I am pleased that the government has adopted a third-party offset scheme, which was absent from previous iterations of the bill. I agree with the minister that in some ways this is six of one, half a dozen of the other. As I said in my second reading contribution, I think it really is early days in terms of these third-party offset schemes and there may well be tweaks that need to be made to the legislation. It remains my preference that it be a process adopted through regulation and I have concerns that some of the conditions that are in the government's proposal may well form extra green tape. In the interest of progressing the debate I am happy to concede, but I indicate that there may be problems with this approach.

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: I need to read something onto the record. This amendment is the substance of the government's third-party significant environmental benefit offset scheme. As members would be aware, the act provides that, for most clearance, a significant environmental benefit offset is required.

The intent of the government's third-party significant environmental benefit offset scheme is to provide increased flexibility and improved environmental outcomes. In doing so, the government has considered the commonwealth government's position, the schemes operating in Victoria and New South Wales, and stakeholder input. Based on that, the government's scheme is intended not only to provide increased flexibility and improved environmental outcomes but also to provide for transparency. This is, essentially, why the government proposal provides for management plans and a credit register in addition to the establishment of credit, its transfer and the use of third parties in the legislation.

There are five proposed new sections to the act under this amendment, which we will get to eventually. I will address each of them in turn. This amendment relates to new section 2