“Release the bulldozers”: Berejiklian continues war on the environment

In Parliament | 11.05.17

The NSW Labor Opposition today slammed the Berejiklian Government after it released draft regulations for its tree clearing reforms that would take a chainsaw to trees and native wildlife across the state. 

The draft regulations will substantially weaken the successful existing system for protecting and managing vegetation and threatened species, and will now allow landowners to undertake self-assessed clearing of high conservation value areas including koala habitat and precious threatened ecological communities. 

In addition, the predicted open season for the killing of native animals has been declared, with new licensing arrangements that will allow animals to be killed with little-to-no oversight under a risk-based system. 

The previous 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 led to falls in approved clearing from 80,000 ha to 811 ha per year, an 88-fold reduction, and an estimated 53,000 fewer mammals being killed each year, including 300 fewer koalas dying each year. 

Importantly, the previous laws contributed to Australia delivering its Kyoto Protocol commitments on climate change by reducing carbon pollution. 

Quotes attributable to Shadow Environment Minister Penny Sharpe 

“Make no mistake, this will go down in history as the moment Gladys Berejiklian rolled out a welcome mat for bulldozers and chainsaws to hack down trees and habitat for our precious native wildlife. 

“These reforms guarantee that even more of our state will become scorched earth devoid of trees, reducing habitat for wildlife like our beloved koalas – which are already vulnerable to extinction. 

“This is not just a war on trees; it is a retrograde war on the environment and wildlife of NSW. It is simple: if the bush is cleared, animals and plants will die. Some species will be lost forever. 

“The tree clearing unleashed by these reforms will also contribute to climate change that will be impossible to reverse. 

“A future Foley Labor Government will reverse this war on the environment.”