Environment groups are warning the NSW Government not to listen to extreme farmers views threatening to hijack a review of the state’s native vegetation laws, and vowed today to fight weakening of the laws “all the way”.
The NSW Native Vegetation Act (2003) was introduced to urgently address NSW’s appalling record of land clearing and operates effectively to prevent broad scale clearing on private land with high conservation value vegetation. Native vegetation provides essential environmental, social and economic benefits, including protecting water quality, maintaining soil health and providing wildlife habitat.
Executive Director of Total Environment Centre, Jeff Angel said: “If the Government’s commitment to a balanced review of the Native Vegetation Regulation (2005) is genuine then it must assure the community that the process will be fair and that it is committed to maintaining the Act that protects native vegetation in NSW.”
“A vocal minority of NSW farmers are spreading misinformation about native vegetation laws. These individuals are exaggerating the impact of the laws; the size and scale of prosecutions of people who are caught conducting illegal land clearing; and staging walkouts at public information sessions.”
Chief Executive Officer of the National Parks Association of NSW, Kevin Evans said: “After the disappointment of a broken promise and amateur shooters being allowed into our National Parks the Government must stand firm and commit to the ongoing protection of native vegetation in NSW.”
“There are numerous issues emerging over the next twelve months that will indicate if the NSW Government is serious about maintaining a credible environmental agenda or whether it is held captive by extremists. The Government and its Environment Minister’s credibility are on the line here.”
Acting Chair,of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW, Rob Pallin said: “Ten years ago NSW had the unwanted reputation of being one of the world’s worst land clearers. The last thing the state needs is a return to those days and the environmental damage that comes with it.”
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