As landholder groups in Queensland decry a return to onerous vegetation management laws in their state, their counterparts in New South Wales are fighting a similar battle against the NSW Native Vegetation Act.
The New South Wales Farmers association has launched a campaign calling for a repeal of the NSW Native Vegetation Act, which it describes as unworkable and detrimental for both farmers and the environment of NSW.
It follows the release by the NSW Government of a draft biodiversity legislation reform package designed to deliver better land management practices for farmers and regional communities in NSW.
NSW Farmers Association President, Derek Schoen, said the new laws should be based on a 2014 independent expert panel review, which reflected a more scientific and progressive approach to land management.
However, Mr Schoen warned that vital recommendations from the review had been overlooked in the draft legislation and needed urgent addressing prior to introduction of the new Act in this year’s Spring sitting.
“We can already see obvious issues with the mapping and the biodiversity assessment methodology in draft legislation.” Mr Schoen called for more balanced laws that protect both biodiversity and the livelihood of farmers.
“The Native Vegetation Act has hampered efficient and effective farming practices for over two decades. There are groups that want to see even more restrictive new laws. Interestingly these people are not the ones bearing the costs of this flawed legislation, or dealing with the environmental damage it causes.”
“We need legislation that considers the whole picture, not narrow-minded thinking far removed from modern farming and resource management.”
“Land reform is vital for our food security and the future of family farms in NSW – reforms that the Government is putting at risk by failing to adopt all 43 of the recommendations in the expert panel report.”
“The existing regulations are a nightmare for farmers,” Mr Schoen said. “The current Act over-regulates, micro-manages, and often prevents better environmental outcomes. Farmers find themselves caught up in layers of complexity and red tape, which prevents them from getting on with managing their land and business.”
“In many cases, the current laws work against our wildlife, allowing uncontrolled regrowth to harbour disease carrying feral predators such as wild cats, pigs and foxes. They’re not just failing nature, they’re failing the people of NSW.
Association members will use the consultation period to assess the workability of the proposed new regime.
Source: NSW Farmers