Submission on proposed changes to NSW biodiversity and conservation laws
I am writing to make a submission on the Government's Draft Biodiversity Conservation Bill 2016 and Draft Local Land Services Amendment Bill 2016, currently on public exhibition.
I adamantly oppose the NSW Government's proposed new land clearing laws, and support stronger protection for bushland and wildlife. I am concerned that the proposed changes will increase land clearing and carbon pollution, push wildlife closer to the brink of extinction and undermine the sustainability of our farmland.
I am particularly concerned with proposed changes that will:
Repeal the Native Vegetation Act 2003 and Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 - these are important laws that have led to a significant decrease in land clearing and habitat loss;
Remove the requirement to 'maintain or improve biodiversity values', leading to a decline in environmental outcomes, soil health, water quality and salinity;
Limit important safeguards, such as 'red flag' areas for environmentally sensitive areas;
Expand the use of 'self-assessable' codes, allowing landholders to clear trees with little oversight;
Reduce the role of the Environment Minister in important biodiversity decisions, with the primary regulatory role for land clearing sitting with the Local Land Services and Minister for Primary Industries
Increase the scope for Ministerial discretion, including in relation to the application of offsets;
Increase the use of biodiversity offsets, with variations to 'like for like' offsetting and allowing proponents to clear trees in exchange for paying money into a fund;
Drive regional climate change and increase greenhouse gas emissions from the land use sector;
Rely on Government funding to achieve biodiversity gains, while reducing environmental protections in law.
I am also concerned that the Government has provided little explanation of how the new laws will be monitored in order to determine changes in land clearing rates and whether biodiversity values are enhanced. It is also unclear which agencies will be responsible for enforcing the new law.
I call on the Government to withdraw the Draft Bills, and commit to laws which will genuinely improve outcomes for nature.
The implementation of similar changes in Queensland has been devastating. State Governments should continue to protect the biodiversity of the bush from those developers who are looking to make a quick profit - even at the expense of driving koalas to extinction.
Go back to submissions list