On Thursday 28 July 2022, the Victorian Local Governance Association and Local Government Information Unit (LGIU) convened the Biodiversity Planning & Green Spaces Live Panel Forum to discuss the topic of balancing biodiversity with demands for public access to the natural environment.
Victoria’s Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability, Dr Gillian Sparkes AM, joined the Global Executive Panel to discuss how local governments around the world play a key role in considering biodiversity values when planning for the use and development of public and private land, waterways and marine environments.
The Executive Global Panel included:
• Dr Gillian Sparkes AM - Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability (VIC)
• Donna Manson - Chief Executive, The Highland Council (UK)
• Helen Bailey - Chief Executive, London Borough of Sutton (UK)
• Rachel Ollivier - Interim Chief Executive Officer, Darebin City Council (VIC)
The audience from Australia and the UK contributed to the insightful discussion. The discussion covered a range of topics related to urban design touching on housing density, protecting biodiversity, air pollution, integrated governance, and distributed health supportive amenities.
Dr Gillian Sparkes AM, said “I’m extremely encouraged by your work and confident that we will be able to draw on this work, for city-level reporting here in Victoria. Application of these indicators for regional as well as metropolitan cities will be critical.”
As patterns of land use and development change, planning for the protection of biodiversity and native vegetation is crucial to local, and indeed global, habitats. Biodiversity conservation is an essential component of responsible environmental and natural resource management. There is an increasing awareness of the need to consider the impact on biodiversity as patterns of land use and development change, but also to look for opportunities to support and increase biodiversity in our urban environments. Connecting to other jurisdictions to learn, share and work together is incredibly valuable to support our local communities, and local biodiversity conservation efforts and outcomes.