Victorian Ecosystem Decline Inquiry

Victorian Ecosystem Decline Inquiry

Submission-writing guide

The Victorian Ecosystem Decline Inquiry needs to hear your voice

A Victorian parliamentary inquiry has been announced into ecosystem decline. This guide is designed to assist you in making a submission. 

The inquiry will be conducted by the Environment and Planning Committee which consist of a cross section of Victorian parliamentarians. The committee is tasked with considering the terms of reference (the matters to be considered) in regards to Victoria’s ecosystem and species decline. The committee will then report back to parliament with their findings.

The inquiry is an opportunity for you to communicate your vision for the future to our elected decision makers by identifying key problems and solutions that you and your community see and experience everyday - your submission is an important step towards setting up the levers for action into the future. Top image: mitchgreenphotos.com

Submissions are due by Friday 31st July 2020.

A spectacular fern in the Yarra Ranges. Image: mitchgreenphotos.com

The Wilderness Society Victoria will generate as many submissions into the inquiry as possible to - 

  1. Hold the Victorian state government to account on inaction and lack of transparency that has contributed to the decline of nature and species extinction 
  2. Demand a rapid transition away from the practices of the past - extractive industries can no longer be given a free pass from impacting Victoria’s nature
  3. Strengthen our state environmental laws and close the loopholes that allow exploitation of nature. For too long, rogue operators have been let off the hook and regulators have turned a blind eye to illegal logging
  4. Help create a resilient future for Victorian nature, wildlife and communities that we can all depend upon

The inquiry is seeking input on a broad set of questions relating to species and ecosystem decline - we encourage you to provide your own unique experiences - your personal story is your most powerful tool here.

Take a look at an example submission

How to write and submit a submission

Deep greens collide in the Yarra Ranges. Image: mitchgreenphotos.com

Step 1: Start by addressing the Environment and Planning Committee

Dear Environment and Planning Committee, I would like to make a submissions to the 

Inquiry into Ecosystem Decline.

Step 2: Introduce yourself

  • Who are you? 
  • What do you do? 
  • Where do you live? Tell them a bit about your community.

Step 3: Your experience is your expertise

  • Is there something in nature that you have seen or experienced that you are concerned about (it can have seen it on the news, on social media, in your own backyard, on a camping trip)? Describe it - what did you hear, smell, feel?
  • Why do you care about it?
  • What issue does it relate to? e.g. climate change, logging, air quality, species extinction, security and quality of life for future generations. You can reference some facts, news articles or reports here if you’d like to.

Step 4: Our shared future

Your thoughts on the environment for the future 

  • What’s your vision - what kind of society would you like to live in?

Step 5: Suggested actions for the Victorian state government to take 

Include any relevant actions that relate to your submission from the list below. These are the policies, legislative changes, funding and regulation changes that the Victorian state government can take action on to make your vision for our shared future a reality.


  1. The devastation inflicted on our wildlife and forests from the 2019 - 2020 bushfires has made forest protection and a rapid logging transition more urgent. The Victorian state government’s commitment to a 2030 industry transition must be brought forward. Two immediate priorities are protection of unburnt Greater Glider habitat, and a continued moratorium on logging in East Gippsland.
  2. There are opportunities for the state government to protect forests for all Victorians to enjoy now and into the future. Two community led initiatives are the proposed Great Forest National Park and Emerald Link conservation economy proposal.
  3. In the face of climate catastrophe, Victoria’s forests play a critical role in removing carbon pollution from the air we all breathe, nourishing us with clean air and safe, clean drinking water. The Victorian state government must develop carbon accounting and policies that include forests. 
  4. The state government must urgently implement and properly resource Action Statements (plans for recovery) for all threatened plants and wildlife. Victoria’s plants and wildlife are at risk, with over 2000 recognised as threatened with extinction however only 15% have Action Statements.
  5. The rights and interests of Traditional Custodians should be recognised in all aspects of land and water management, as well as decision-making in relation to their traditional lands, including traditional management practices such as cultural fire. First Nations - declining ecosystems have profound implications for First Nations.
  6. Victoria needs a new, independent, well resourced conservation regulator to police deforestation and other destructive industries. The EPA is the independent watchdog for pollution, but currently there is no independent watchdog to ensure industries comply with environmental laws, with numerous breaches to laws continuing to occur and a long history of regulators turning a blind eye.
  7. Community rights must be guaranteed when governments are making environmental decisions, including the right to participate, the right to access necessary information, the right to challenge environmental decisions and the right to transparency in government decision making. 

Step 7: Submitting

  • Sign off by Including  your full name, address and email. 
  • State “I agree to this submission being made public” Note - we encourage public submissions. They will be published on parliament website but your address or contact details will not be made public. Otherwise, if you prefer please ask for submission to be treated as confidential. 
  • Address the submission to:

Environment and Planning Committee

Inquiry into Ecosystem Decline in Victoria

  • If you can, it’s great to include a relevant photo of you in nature.

For further information see the inquiry website. Need some assistance? Email Mallory Pryde

Take a look at an example submission