We support efforts to reform native vegetation laws to improve outcomes for biodiversity, reduce regulatory burden where possible, and to create new incentives and opportunities for landholders to engage in private land conservation.
However, we are extremely concerned with particular components of the biodiversity legislation package, which will seriously undermine the object of the Act itself, and run directly counter to the recommendations of the independent review of the Native Vegetation Act 2003.
New South Wales has a significant opportunity to reform its biodiversity and native vegetation laws to enhance positive social, economic and environmental outcomes. The draft Biodiversity Conservation Act in its current form is unlikely to deliver these outcomes. Indeed, in absence of rigorous policy monitoring, evaluation and compliance enforcement, it is not likely we will know what, if any, outcomes the new Act will achieve. Crucially, the many exemptions provided for under the Act will very likely facilitate an increase broad-scale clearing in New South Wales, which would be a significant backward step for environmental policy in Australia.