The Conservation Commission of Western Australia is established as an advisory, vesting and controlling body under Section 18 of the Conservation and Land Management Act 1984 and is responsible to the WA Minister for Environment. The Conservation Commission considers matters concerning the conservation estate and other nature conservation issues in Western Australia, and can provide advice to the Minister on the appropriateness of the measures contained within this management plan for the conservation of flora.
Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) provides policy and management advice to DEC on threatened flora conservation. A major function of the TSSC is to provide recommendations for amendments to the schedule of Declared Rare Flora.
The WA Flora Industry Advisory Committee (WAFIAC) was formed in 1992 to provide a forum for consultation between DEC, the industry and other interested parties, and to provide advice to DEC and the WA Minister for Environment on management and conservation of commercially harvested protected flora in Western Australia (e.g. cut flowers, seed, fruit, foliage, cuttings, beansticks, didgeridoos).
The WAFIAC provides a forum for reactive and adaptive management of the flora industry. Members of the Committee are appointed by the Minister to represent the following:
· Department of DEC;
· Department of Agriculture and Food.
· Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority;
· flora industry (dealers, pickers, seed industry and private growers);
· tertiary institutions; and
· voluntary conservation interests.
Examples of the contribution WAFIAC representatives are able to provide for the development of strategies for the management of the flora industry are provided below.
Industry representatives are able to provide information on picking and commercial harvesting practices, and market demand for flora products. Such information is integral to understanding the operation and driving pressures on the flora industry.
The Department of Agriculture and Food has a role in the development of commercial flora production on private land, either through the development of flora cultivation, or the sustainable management of native vegetation. The Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority also has expertise in flora cultivation, as do flora growers and the Wildflower Society of Western Australia (a voluntary conservation organisation). These representatives are able to provide information on flora production and the feasibility of alternative strategies for flora conservation.
DEC, the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority and the Wildflower Society have considerable expertise in flora conservation. The Wildflower Society also provides an important role in contributing community expectations for flora conservation. These representatives ensure that the conservation of flora has primary consideration in the development of flora management strategies.
Issues relating to commercial harvesting of flora are referred to DEC directly by Departmental staff, industry or the community, or may be raised at the WAFIAC meetings by different sector representatives. The diverse representation on the WAFIAC provides the forum for detailed discussion on flora management and conservation issues, and the development of appropriate management strategies to address issues raised where the implementation of strategies are required to address a potential flora conservation concern.
The WAFIAC thus provides an effective forum for the debate of flora management issues, and the development of appropriate management strategies to address these issues. Where monitoring raises concerns over the commercial harvesting of a particular taxon, the following procedure applies.
a) DEC makes an assessment of the data and populations in the wild. Additional research and monitoring may be undertaken to provide recommendations for action and management.
b) DEC tables its recommendations for discussion at a meeting of the WAFIAC wherever possible. However, if the conservation status of the taxon concerned warrants urgent changes, DEC may implement the necessary actions immediately and inform the Committee subsequently.
c) If restrictions are necessary, options such as limiting the number of pickers, setting quotas, restricting the season, and closing certain areas will be considered.
d) If DEC believes that a taxon cannot be harvested sustainably on Crown land, even with additional management as outlined above, a recommendation will be made to the Minister to ban the harvesting of the taxon from Crown land. If it is believed also that it cannot be sustainably harvested on private land, the taxon will be removed from the Export Flora List covered by this Management Plan. Consideration may also be given to listing the taxon on the Priority Flora list or recommending it for declaration as rare flora.
e) Every effort will be made to give adequate notice to industry about changes affecting commercial harvesting of protected flora.
WAFIAC last formally met in 2008 due to no significant flora management issues being raised by industry or other members since that time. Where minor management issues have been raised, meetings have been held with specific interest groups to resolve those issues as they arise. The capacity remains for WAFIAC to meet should any significant issues be brought to the attention of DEC.
Reports take several different forms. The following summarise the various reports on the flora harvesting industry within Western Australia.
6.6.1 DEC Reports
As detailed in section 5.3.2, commercial flora harvesters are required as a condition of licence to submit returns covering flora taken each month on a quarterly basis. Data required include taxa, quantity, part, unit measure, the land tenure and grid location where picked, and to whom the flora was supplied.
From this data, monitoring reports are prepared to cover flora taken in each 12 month period (January to December). These data are used as part of the monitoring process described above. The reports will be compiled and forwarded to DSEWPaC, upon completion, usually by 30 June the following year to allow for the submission and data entry of picker return information.
A proforma report form for harvested flora taxa and populations may be completed by Region/District staff and Wildlife Officers, and a copy forwarded to Head Office, whenever a significant issue regarding commercially harvested taxon is located in the field during the course of work. The report includes habitat and population details, the status of the population, the degree of harvesting noted and any recommendations (if required). These reports are used in conjunction with other monitoring methods to monitor the taxon.
Wildlife Officers conduct inspections of dealers' premises to ensure that legislative requirements are being met. These inspection reports are used to assist in making recommendations to DSEWPaC on whether or not to renew an export authority. Following the detection of an offence Wildlife Officers prepare breach reports for evaluation. These reports are used as a basis for the preparation of a case to prosecute or take other action, as appropriate.
One month prior to the expiry of a licence, a report is generated which assesses the status of a picker's harvest returns. If the picker’s returns are satisfactory a letter reminding the picker of the expiry of her/his licence is sent. If returns are incomplete, the picker is informed that the licence can not be renewed until returns have been received. District and Regional staff, Wildlife Officers and licensing staff have access to this information via the FIDMS.
District/Regional flora industry officers are encouraged to submit an annual report to DEC’s Head Office (Nature Protection Branch), covering harvesting activity, enforcement issues, administrative issues, and recommendations for research and management. These annual reports are compiled and a summary is distributed to Regions/District and used by Head Office (Nature Protection Branch) staff to assist in the management of the industry.