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Legislative Framework

Victoria’s parks and reserves system has been established over the past 120 years through the efforts and commitment of a wide range of organisations and individuals. Parks are reserved for a variety of purposes, and managed within the context of state and Commonwealth legislation, international treaties, government policies, best-practice principles, strategies and guidelines.

Key state legislation in relation to parks and reserves includes, but is not limited to;

  • National Parks Act 1975 and Regulations
  • Crown Lands (Reserves) Act 1978 and Regulations
  • Parks Victoria Act 1998
  • Port Management Act 1995

Other important state legislation includes, but is not limited to;

  • Aboriginal Heritage Act 1996
  • Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988
  • Forests Act 1958 and Regulations
  • Heritage Act 1995
  • Land Conservation (Vehicle Control) Act 1972 and Regulations
  • Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010

All current Victoria legislation can be found here:

Commonwealth legislation which has direct, or major, implications for the management of Victorian parks and reserves includes, but is not limited to;

  • Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
  • Native Title Act 1993
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984

See also Department of Environment and Primary Industries - parks and reserves

Parks Victoria Act

Under the Parks Victoria Act 1998, Parks Victoria's responsibilities are to provide services to the State and its agencies for the management of parks, reserves and other public land. With the approval of the Minister, it may also provide land management services to the owner of any other land used for public purposes. The Act requires that, in carrying out its functions, Parks Victoria must not act in a way that is not environmentally sound.

Overall arrangements regarding the relationships and responsibilities for the provision of services to the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) are set down in a Management Services Agreement (MSA) between Parks Victoria, the Minister for Environment and the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Primary Industries. Parks Victoria's management services are delivered within state policy, contractual agreements and the specific responsibilities and powers of the Secretary (DEPI) under the National Parks Act 1975.

In addition to the Management Services Agreement, Parks Victoria provides management services to Melbourne Water (for management of reservoir parks).

Parks Victoria's responsibilities encompass the management of:

  • all areas reserved under the National Parks Act 1975
  • metropolitan waterways and adjacent land under the Water Industry Act 1994
  • nominated Crown land reserved under the Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978
  • conservation reserves reserved under the Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978 and managed in accordance with approved land use recommendations under the Land Conservation Act 1970
  • areas reserved under the Heritage Rivers Act 1992
  • planning for all Ramsar sites and management of some sites
  • piers and jetties in Port Phillip Bay and Western Port and recreational boating on these Bays pursuant to powers conferred by the Marine Safet Act 2010 and the Port of Melbourne Authority Act 1958
  • other areas as specified under the Parks Victoria Act 1998

Fees and Penalties

Victorian Government departments and agencies charge a range of fees for services and regulatory purposes, including licensing and registering certain activities and fines for improper conduct, and to discourage unlawful behaviour. These fees and fines are officially set and revised by legislation relevant to their application.
Further information is available from the DEPI website.

Summary of legislation, policy and guidelines



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