Threatened species feeling the pinch of climate change are being put under further pressure by ‘streamlined’ planning laws that see protection for biodiversity as an obstacle to be removed, rather than a fundamental planning consideration, the state’s peak environment group said today.
“Protections for threatened species and biodiversity have been lost in the race to speed up planning approvals,” Cate Faehrmann, executive director of the Nature Conservation Council said today.
“Development approvals may be passed more quickly, but only because protecting biodiversity now takes secondary consideration after certainty for developers.
“Governments have known for years that we are on the verge of a biodiversity crisis. The Commonwealth Stateof the Environment Report 1996 identified loss of biodiversity as Australia’s most serious environmental problem.
“Australia has one of the worst rates of extinction on the planet, and around 800 plant species and 111 animal species are listed as endangered or vulnerable.
“Despite recognition by governments of the enormous pressures on our biodiversity, government policy in NSW has not slowed the decline of species.
“Recent changes to the NSW planning laws have actually decreased protection for biodiversity,” Ms Faehrmann said.