Landowners in Wellington Shire who have entered into conservation agreements with Trust for Nature to protect important habitat will get extra incentive with a rate rebate increase.
Wellington Shire Council has upped the rate rebate for land affected by conservation covenants from $5 per hectare to $15 per hectare.
The policy is aimed at encouraging and supporting property owners who have entered into formal conservation agreements with Trust for Nature to protect, preserve or restore the natural environment contained on private land.
Conservation covenants contain requirements and rights for a property in relation to future land use activities. They are negotiated with landowners to ensure their wishes and needs for the land are defined.
While property owners continue to own and manage the land, Trust for Nature takes on responsibility for monitoring the requirements once the agreement is made, through its Stewardship Program.
Wellington Shire Council Mayor Ian Bye said the policy recognised the increased costs over time in managing land for conservation purposes.
"Covenants are there to help protect environmentally significant areas, which are often found on private land such as farms," Cr Bye said.
"For farmers who have parts of their land under covenant for the protection of habitats, this policy aims to help offset any reduction in potential income.
"Wellington Shire Council and our ratepayers believe strongly in the need to protect areas where native plants and wildlife can survive, and we hope this rate rebate further encourages landowners to consider working with Trust for Nature on conservation covenants."
For more information on the Rates Rebate on Land for Conservation Purposes visit the Environmental Programs and Incentives page at www.wellington.vic.gov.au