Comments

Dear Sir/Madam, With Australia's native habitat and biodiversity already seriously degraded, I strongly oppose this legislation and any attempts to repeal the Native Vegetation Act 2003 and Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995. In particular, I strongly oppose the offsets and ecologically sustainable development components. At a time when we are experiencing unprecedented man-made mass extinctions (the 6th Extinction as author Elizabeth Kolbert writes), preservation of habitat should be a key priority of any government concerned with intergenerational equity. I want my daughter to be able to experience as much of Australia's wondrous and unique biodiversity as I have. The ability to offset developments through expanding the biodiversity offset market has huge potential for abuse and irreparable damage to the environment, especially when combined with removing the requirement to maintain or improve biodiversity values. This is especially likely to occur when there is limited oversight and self-assessable codes by would-be land clearers - items directly enshrined in your proposed legislation. Monetary profit is a short-term view of natural ecosystems: clearing a fully functional and valuable habitat for the sake of expediting development can lead to the immediate displacement, reduction in biodiversity and, in worst cases, eventual extinction of species that have taken millions of years to evolve. The long-term view should consider that habitat loss and fragmentation is one of the most critical factors driving loss of biodiversity. The simple fact is that where humans have disturbed perfectly viable habitat, invasive species (both introduced and endemic) have taken over, to the detriment of the area's original inhabitants. Think of the plague of noisy miners that now rule suburban streets and urban fringes as a result of land-clearing and development. Their presence undermines the ability of small birds to establish a presence. This is especially likely to occur when there is limited oversight and self-assessable codes by would-be land clearers. The government must withdraw the Draft Biodiversity Conservation Act and Local Land Services Amendment Act, and commit to laws that are aimed at increasing biodiversity and preventing extinction, not facilitating it. Please count this as my submission to the proposed biodiversity conservation reform package. I give permission for this submission to be made public. Yours Sincerely, James Stuart Canterbury, NSW 2193

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