The Climate Change Act 2010 (Victoria) (Act) will come into operation on 1 July 2011. It represents a significant step towards complimenting the Victorian Government's climate change agenda. The introduction of the Act will affect most sectors of the Victorian economy including building and construction, development and resources.

Significant aspects of the Act include:

A Target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20%

  • The Act requires the Government to ensure that, by 2020, Victoria's greenhouse gas emissions are 20% less than they were in 2000. This target will be achieved through energy efficiency and increased reliance on renewable energy sources and carbon sequestration.

Powers to regulate greenhouse gas emissions

  • There will be significant increases in the power of the Environment Protection Authority to regulate carbon emissions and to prescribe greenhouse gas emissions standards. 

New forestry and carbon sequestration rights

  • The Act establishes a new framework for property rights and management agreements in relation to the ownership, registration and transfer of forestry and carbon sequestration rights in Victoria. The Act will allow landowners to enter into Forestry and Carbon Management Agreements (FCM) for the ongoing management of vegetation and soil which, once registered, would run with the affected land.
  • Parties to the agreements can apply to VCAT to enforce the provisions of the agreement or to resolve disputes.

Key Implications

  • Examining whether any positive steps are required to ensure compliance with the new Act
  • The implications of the Act on future land transactions or planning proposals
  • Recognition of consent requirements when entering into FCM Agreements
  • A familiarity with the extent to which decision makers may have regard to climate change after the commencement of the Act
  • The impact of any transitional provisions on the operation of your business