Protecting the land we value most
NSW is home to some of the most treasured wildlife, natural environments and productive land, and we are rightly proud of that.
Native trees and plants are vital for the health of our environment, supporting native animals and agriculture and protecting soil and water.
Farmers own and manage the majority of land in NSW, and we have to work together to protect the land and animals we value most and to keep our rivers flowing and healthy.
The Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 and Local Land Services Amendment Act 2016 take advantage of the best available science and data and deliver a modern approach to land management and biodiversity conservation in NSW.
On 17 November, the NSW Parliament passed the Biodiversity Conservation Bill and Local Land Services Amendment Bill. The new Acts will be supported by regulations and other detailed products. The government will continue to engage with stakeholders and the community as these are prepared over the coming months. The new scheme will be able to commence from mid-2017.
The changes will enable continued protection of the natural environment and ongoing support for a sustainable and productive agricultural sector.
Supporting sustainable land use
The reforms deliver ecologically sustainable development in NSW. They introduce a new biodiversity offset scheme, an expanded biodiversity certification program and establish a new Biodiversity Conservation Trust. Codes of practice also support landholders to manage their land to ensure more productive farming methods and systems and deliver improved environmental outcomes. The new native vegetation regulatory map will give clarity and certainty about managing vegetation.
Providing significant investment
The NSW Government has reaffirmed its commitment to an unprecedented investment in biodiversity conservation, including $100 million over five years for the Saving our Species program and $240 million over five years and $70 million each year in ongoing funding, subject to performance review, for a new private land conservation program. This investment will help conserve biodiversity and ecological integrity at bioregional and state scales.
Ensuring strong protections
The new Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 provides for a modernised and robust risk-based approach to regulation. This approach emphasises education and compliance. It gives regulators the tools to take enforcement action against those who do the wrong thing, in a way that is commensurate with the seriousness of an offence.
Consultation will continue
Work will continue as the enabling Regulation, tools and products to support the legislation are developed during 2017. Further consultation on more detailed components of the package will take place before the proposed legislation commences, including:
- Exhibiting the supporting Regulation.
- Consulting on the Native Vegetation Regulatory Map.
- Exhibiting a draft State Environmental Planning Policy for urban vegetation in early 2017.
- Exhibiting draft instruments such as the Biodiversity Assessment Method, wildlife management codes of practice and the land management codes of practice from early 2017.
- Engaging with wildlife rehabilitation providers to design a new accreditation program for wildlife rehabilitation and rescue services to start in early 2018.