The Land View Government urged to act on native veg

The Land Newspaper
NSW Farmers View
13 February 2014

Fiona Simson - President

It’s been a while since the Deputy Premier announced that the NSW Government would commit to an overhaul of the state’s native vegetation laws.

At the time, Deputy Premier Stoner said he wanted commonsense rules based on the recommendations of the Joe Lane independent review. These rules would enable farmers to clear paddock trees, manage invasive native species and thin native vegetation using self-assessable codes.

NSW Farmers has been involved in the process of the development of these codes from the outset. Our Native Vegetation Working Group and Conservation and Resource Management Committee gave constructive feedback on the draft codes as they were being developed.

Our key concerns were the ability for these codes to deliver real and tangible benefits to farmers given the fundamentally flawed piece of legislation that is the Native Vegetation Act.

The government also committed to an overhaul and review of this Act when it announced the new codes. Seven months later there are still no codes in place and there is no apparent process for the review of the Act.

To say this inaction frustrates our members would be an understatement.

The government has said it wants to increase productivity, meet its growth targets and that native vegetation laws have become a patchwork of laws that are fragmented, rigid and overly complex having perverse effects on the environment and economy. We agree.

But it’s time for government to commit. Farmers in NSW, the number one environmental custodians of land, have had enough of draconian laws that restrict them at every turn while resource companies are given a much easier ride. Let farmers reach their full potential and deliver not only outcomes that will help them as primary producers but help their communities and the environment as well.

NSW Farmers has written to the Deputy Premier and Ministers for the Environment and Agriculture urging that a review of Act become a high priority. We have also recommended a suite of targeted amendments to the Act that will give landholders the ability to get on with the job of providing food and fibre for our consumers in Australia and overseas. 

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