Baird Government waves the white flag on biodiversity in NSW

In Parliament | 03.05.16

Today’s announcement of reforms to biodiversity legislation by the Baird Government will lead to a return to land clearing, an increase in the deaths and extinction of native animals and will undermine attempts to reduce carbon emissions in NSW. 

The existing Native Vegetation laws were introduced in 2005 by the Carr Labor Government. These laws: 

  • Were the result of an agreement between farmers, government, scientists and environmentalists and came into effect in 2005.

  • Approved clearing fell from 80,000 ha a year to 811 ha, an 88-fold reduction in approved clearing. Offsets protected in return for approved clearing protected another 7,800 ha per year. 

  • Reduced the mortality of native animals. It is estimated that 53,000 fewer mammals are killed each year - a 14% reduction. In terms of koalas it is estimated 300 fewer koalas die each year because of current laws.

  • Contributed to Australia to delivering its Kyoto Protocol commitments by reducing the carbon pollution associated with high rates of clearing.

Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for the Environment, Penny Sharpe 

“The Baird Government has raised the white flag on protecting our native plants and animals, soils and water into the future. These draft bills are biodiversity conservation bills in name only. 

“These draft bills water down environmental protections and hand over too much decision making to government agencies that do not have biodiversity or the environment as their number one priority. 

“This process has been driven by an ideological obsession of some elements of the National Party whose only aim is to rip up the existing laws. 

“Under the Government the number of threatened species has passed the 1000 mark. It’s an appalling record that will only get worse under these atrocious laws. 

“Labor has always been and will continue to be open to improving environmental laws but change should only occur if the laws are improving environmental outcomes.

“Mike Baird has capitulated to the National Party and has extended his war on trees to all of NSW.”