Legislation is now before the NSW Parliament to repeal the Native Vegetation Act 2003 and replace it with a fair, evidence-based and modern system that will improve biodiversity and agricultural productivity in NSW.
If passed, the Biodiversity Conservation Bill 2016 and Local Land Services Amendment Bill 2016 will commence in 2017.
The reform package implements the 43 recommendations of the Independent Biodiversity Legislation Review. The legislation's introduction to parliament follows an eight-week consultation period earlier this year with farmers, environmental groups, developers and local communities.
NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Lands and Water Niall Blair said that the reforms would allow farmers to be productive and profitable on their land while still working to improve the environment.
Strong environmental safeguards including limits on land clearing, offset requirements and exclusions will enable continued protection of the natural environment.
NSW Environment Minister Mark Speakman said the legislation was supported by a record investment of $240 million over five years, plus $70 million a year after that in private land conservation, in addition to $100 million for the Saving Our Species Program.
“These reforms aim to facilitate ecologically sustainable development while better conserving biodiversity across NSW,” Mr Speakman said.
“We’ve committed to this being a balanced, fair and ecologically sustainable package.”