An independent expert panel appointed to review the Wildlife Act 1975 is calling for public submissions to ensure the revised Act is fit for purpose and in line with Victorians’ values and expectations.

The Act, which protects and conserves wildlife, has not been reviewed since it became law more than 45 years ago.

The panel, chaired by Dr Deborah Peterson, was established in December 2020 by Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio.

The review will consider the objectives and scope of the Act to ensure it provides a comprehensive, best practice legal and regulatory framework to achieve its key objectives of protecting wildlife.

The review will also consider whether the Act recognises and protects the rights and interests of Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians and their role in decision making related to wildlife.

The panel will also look at the best ways to encourage compliance with the Act and whether offences and penalties are appropriate. This follows community outrage over recent instances of illegal poisoning of wedge-tailed eagles and an incident involving injured and starving koalas.

Victorians can provide their views by visiting Engage Victoria where they can read the issues paper and provide a general comment or a written submission. Submissions must be lodged by Wednesday 9 June.

The other members of the panel are Associate Professor Ngaio Beausoleil, Dr Jack Pascoe and Emeritus Professor Arie Freiberg AM.