Private properties form a critical component in supporting habitat for native plants and animals. Council's Habitat Protection Program provides a range of initiatives designed to aid landholders in the protection and management of environmental values within private property. The program plays a crucial role in creating better land management partnerships between Council, landowners and the community, and enhances the protection of the Region's valuable natural assets. Within the Habitat Protection Program, landholders can take part In Land for Wildlife, Conservation Agreements and Nature Refuges.
Land for Wildlife is a free voluntary program offering support for landholders in the conservation of flora and fauna on their property. To be eligible for the Land for Wildlife, properties must be larger than 1 hectare to be eligible. The program provides technical advice and resources, including environment grants and other incentives.
Conservation agreements are an agreement with Council to conserve particular natural features of a property. This type of agreement is voluntary and is determined by negotiation with the landholder. A Conservation Agreement requires a Five year commitment by the landholder to protect, manage and enhance the area/s covered under the Conservation Agreement. A Conservation agreement is a legally binding contract but doesn't affect the land title. The landholder will receive a rate rebate of up to 50% off the general rate for the area covered by the agreement. Participants who enter into a Conservation Agreement will have access to a range of resources and financial assistance available through the Environmental Grants Program.
Landholders can also play a role in protecting biodiversity through the establishment of a nature refuge on their property. A nature refuge is an area of land voluntarily protected for conservation, while allowing compatible and sustainable land uses to continue. A nature refuge is negotiated through a legally binding agreement between the landholder and the State Government and provides up to 100% rate rebate on the area covered by the agreement. Council facilitates the agreement through providing assistance to landholders who are lodging the agreement with the State Government.