Working as an ecological consultant for over a decade and being a concerned Community member, I am troubled by the implications of the new legislation. I am proud to work in NSW, with its stringent controls against environmental degradation which are in place to protect our unique biodiversity. I really feel that the proposed legislation is a step backward for the state.
The self assessment process will result in an overall result of increased clearing in rural and residential areas. Important habitat resources will be lost in these ecosystems particularly hollow-bearing trees. Legislation and processes proposed are similar to those in QLD which have resulted in vast clearing across the state since becoming in force. Is the intent to allow this to happen in NSW?
Handing over important decisions on clearing to LLS who are not equipped, funded and lack the expertise required to complete this role is not logical. It should remaining a planning issue with a relevant planning consent agency such as Council.
Details of the Mapping underpinning self assessment and LLS approval requirements has not been provided. There is the possibility of maps to have gotten it wrong which will result in clearing of important biodiversity values. Basing decisions on mapping that has been sourced from API and broad scale vegetation mapping is likely to overlook important values on the site scale.
The approvals process does not streamline development for part 4,5 or major projects. The same, if not more, level of assessment is required.
Databases behind the BAM are not available for comment and are still as subjective as ever - particularly the new Tg scores. There is no transparency or industry and community input into this process.
Relaxing of 'like for like' offsetting requirements gives a big green tick to industry and developers. With the ability to remove areas of TEC and threatened species habitat and individuals, and offset with similar communities - away from the development site - we are weakening our offsetting laws. I am worried this is going to lead to over clearing of already threatened biodiversity and locking up of biodiversity that is not subject to the same development pressures.
There is no alignment with commonwealth legislation. If an aim of the proposed legislation is to streamline assessment and 'cut green tape' it is not achieving this.
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