What is the Landscape South Australia Act?
The Landscape South Australia Act 2019 (Landscape Act) provides the framework for promoting sustainable and integrated management of land, water, pest plants and animals and biodiversity across the state.
The Landscape Act became fully operational on 1 July 2020, replacing the former Natural Resources Management Act 2004.
Why is the Landscape Act being reviewed?
The review of the Landscape Act is a statutory requirement. Section 249 of the Act requires the Minister to appoint an independent person to conduct a review on the operation and effectiveness of the Act after 3 years of this section commencing. As section 249 of the Act came into operation on 1 July 2020 the review is now due to be undertaken.
Who has been appointed to conduct the review?
The Hon John Hill was appointed by the Minister for Climate, Environment and Water (the Minister) as the Independent Reviewer on 3 July 2023. The Minister appointed Mr Hill based on his knowledge, skills and experience in relation to the management of natural resources. As a retired parliamentarian (between 1997 and 2014) including former Minister responsible for the Environment portfolio, Mr Hill has a vast understanding of natural resource management and more broadly, of administering legislation in our state. Given his experience, independence and standing within the community, Mr Hill was considered an appropriate appointee to conduct this independent review.
How long will the independent review run for?
The independent review commenced on 14 August 2023, with the Independent Reviewer having 6 months to provide a final report to the Minister on his findings. Accordingly, the review will conclude by 13 February 2024.
Who will have an opportunity to provide input into the review and how can feedback be provided?
Public consultation is taking place through YourSAy. Landscape boards, local councils, environmental and primary industry groups, First Nations peoples, community groups and landowners are all encouraged to participate and share their views.
Feedback can be provided through written submissions or through the survey which is available on YourSAy. In addition, the Independent Reviewer will hold in person representations with a number of key sector partners including Landscape Boards, peak bodies outlined in the Act, First Nation organisations, PIRSA and DEW. A discussion paper is available to help guide input.
Will feedback be confidential?
Feedback will be used by the Independent Reviewer to prepare his final report and the report will be made public. Individual names will not be referred to in the final report but organisations may be. Should you as an individual or on behalf of your organisation not want all or any part of your feedback to be made public this should be stated and made clear in your submission.
What is the scope of the independent review?
The independent review will focus on the operation and effectiveness of the Landscape Act, including the Regulations and the Act’s statutory instruments.
The review will be restricted to the operation and effectiveness of the Landscape Act and is not a major review considering an extensive reform process was undertaken in 2018. The review will not re-examine the fundamental scheme and system of the Landscape Act.
The scope is further detailed in the independent review’s Terms of Reference.
Is the entire Landscape Act being considered as part of the independent review?
Yes. Feedback is welcome on any part of the Act, its associated Regulations and statutory instruments. You may visit the government’s legislation website for a copy of these documents.
What will happen once the final report has been prepared?
The Minister is required to table a copy of the final report before both Houses of Parliament within 12 parliamentary sitting days of receiving it.
The Minister will give consideration to the findings in the report and consider any recommendations that are made. There is no statutory timeframe or provisions in place which requires the Minister to make a decision on the report recommendations.
Will there be changes to the Landscape Act as a result of the independent review and when would these changes occur?
The report of the Independent Reviewer may recommend consideration of amendments to the Landscape Act. The Minister will determine if any further actions will be taken in response to the report of the Independent Reviewer.
If any amendments to the Landscape Act are supported they will be progressed through a separate process.
Where can I go for more information?
Further queries can be directed to LSActIndependentReview@sa.gov.au