Key features of the new legislation
Strengthens fundamental legal protections for our threatened species and provides better consistency between jurisdictions on the process of listing species
Prescribes a process for declaring and protecting areas of outstanding biodiversity value, which meet strict criteria set out in the draft Biodiversity Conservation (BC) Regulation
Introduces a risk-based approach to managing wildlife interactions that delivers a more streamlined framework while continuing to protect native plants and animals
Outcomes are already being delivered though a $100 million investment in the Saving our Species program to conserve threatened species in NSW
Listing threatened species
The Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (BC Act) modernises the process for listing threatened plants and animals. It aligns threat categories with international best practice and provides greater coordination between Australian jurisdictions.
The draft BC Regulation provides for populations to be listed as a species in certain circumstances. Endangered populations currently listed under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 will be carried over to the BC Act.
Managing wildlife interactions
The BC Act establishes a new risk-based approach to managing wildlife interactions through a tiered framework. Certain interactions with wildlife (such as harming animals) will continue to be criminalised, however some actions may be permitted explicitly through the draft BC Regulation (i.e. low risk activities), through an adopted code of practice (i.e. moderate risk activities) or through a biodiversity conservation licence (i.e. high risk activities).
Government has been undertaking targeted consultation to develop wildlife codes of practice. Further consultation on proposed changes to existing wildlife licence classes and conditions, proposals for licensing fees, and on proposed codes of practice prior to the new arrangements starting.
Wildlife carers provide important and specialised care and treatment for injured and sick native animals and an important service to the community. The Office of Environment and Heritage will work together with the wildlife rehabilitation providers through an intensive consultation process to develop a new wildlife carer accreditation scheme for providers. It is likely the accreditation scheme will commence in late 2018.
Identifying Areas of Outstanding Biodiversity Value (AOBV)
The BC Act gives the Minister for the Environment the power to declare areas of outstanding biodiversity value (AOBVs).
The draft BC Regulation establishes additional criteria for AOBVs. The proposed criteria have been designed to identify the most valuable sites for biodiversity conservation in NSW.