Hume City getting back to nature

Hume City Council is in the process of introducing a new Native Vegetation Offsets Policy.

The policy will come into effect when applications to clear native vegetation under the Hume Planning Scheme are approved.

Hume is Australia’s fourth fastest growing municipality and covers 504 square kilometres north west of Melbourne’s CBD.

The policy seeks to ensure that when vegetation is cleared, there is equivalent or improved vegetation planted, in locations that won’t be touched in the future, on either public or private land.

Council aims to retain native vegetation and achieve a ‘net gain’ in native vegetation cover in the municipality. The decision whether to remove or retain vegetation will be on a case by case basis.

Hume Mayor, Councillor Geoff Porter, said it is important for all affected residents to read and understand the policy.

“We need to make sure that native vegetation is correctly looked after,” he said.

“With only 16 per cent of Hume’s original vegetation remaining, this policy will be in place to protect its future. It is the most fragile and critically endangered vegetation in Victoria, and original trees in Hume can be up to 600 years old, representing a significant habitat for our native animals.”

That 16 per cent is a small amount compared with neighbouring municipalities like Whittlesea (33 per cent) and Mitchell (37 per cent), and most of the remnant vegetation is among the most critically endangered in Victoria.

The policy was available for public comment until 4 June 2010.