Disturbing increase in land clearing as Mike Baird prepares to unleash the chainsaws on NSW

In Parliament | 04.08.16

A report on vegetation clearing quietly released by the Baird Government has highlighted a disturbing trend of increasing illegal land clearing in NSW.

The data provides a report card on the status, regulation, protection and extent of native vegetation in NSW, and clearly shows the rate of land clearing is increasing even as Mike Baird readies his destructive reforms to weaken land clearing laws.

The report shows clearing skyrocketed from 40,500 ha in 2011/12 to 105,900 ha in 2012/13 (the most recent data available).

Illegal clearing that is defined as “unexplained” agricultural woody clearing is has increased, jumping by 52% in the last two years alone:


“Unexplained” agricultural woody clearing (hectares)







In 2012/13 there was 9,100 ha of clearing on private land, and a massive 60% of that clearing is unexplained.

Clearing is also increasing across the board, including clearing on farms, infrastructure, mining, forestry, and the impact of fire on vegetation.

Shadow Environment Minister Penny Sharpe says:

“This data paints a disturbing picture, showing a trend of illegal clearing escalating across NSW.

“Government funding cuts to the Office of Environment and Heritage, minimal compliance activity from the Environment Protection Authority, and a striking lack of leadership from the Minister mean that the illegal chainsaws will continue to destroy native vegetation.

“Proposed changes to land clearing laws, the 10/50 code that saw thousands of trees felled and the destruction of heritage trees throughout Sydney, coupled with these increases in illegal clearing, mean that Mike Baird’s war on trees continues unabated.

“The report also highlights the unacceptable time lag between clearing taking place the Government reporting it – such out of date the information severely hobbles our ability to be serious about protecting native vegetation.”