16.5 C
Byron Shire
April 15, 2021

Land clearing laws failing says NSW auditor-general

Latest News

SCU named as partner in two national drought hubs

Southern Cross University has been announced as playing a crucial partnership role in two new Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs.

Other News

Take a ticket

Council’s Draft Complaint Handling Policy is on exhibition! It’s a document that, if drafted carefully, could provide the public with confidence that Council take complaints seriously and accountability will apply when a complaint is found to be true.

Help from Red Cross for flood-affected communities in NSW

With disasters coming thick and fast as the climate emergency worsens, Australian Red Cross this morning launched financial help for flood-affected communities in NSW.

Overcharging and misrepresentation

Josh Scrivener, Palmwoods Three weeks ago I looked online to buy a Bluesfest 2021 ticket. The Google ad directed me...

SCU celebrates alumni achievements with awards

A group of Southern Cross University graduates who have made extraordinary global achievements in research, community building, healthcare and environmental issues have been acknowledged with the 2020 Alumni Impact Awards.

Getting the right stuff in your bins in the Tweed

Tweed Council is asking residents to be more careful with what waste they put in which bin – a surprising amount of the area's refuse, both recycling and landfill, ends up in the wrong receptacle.

Policy not ‘housekeeping’

Heather Martin, Mullumbimby According to a report in The Echo (24 March), the planning staff’s proposed amendments to LEP 2014...

The new land clearing laws introduced by the NSW Liberal National parties in 2017 that rely on a ‘self assessed land clearing regime’ have been found ineffective in a report released yesterday by the auditor-general for New South Wales.

The clearing of native vegetation on rural land is not effectively regulated and managed ,’ states the Auditor-General for New South Wales, Margaret Crawford in the report.

‘The processes supporting the regulatory framework are weak and there is no evidence-based assurance that clearing of native vegetation is carried out in accordance with approvals.’

The report also states that:

  • The rules around land clearing may not be responding adequately to environmental risks;
  • The amount of land clearing has increased but the latest data is yet to be publicly released;
  • There has been no assessment under the Code to gauge whether a thinning or clearing will improve productivity or result in a decline in the condition of the land;
  • There is no assessment as to whether selection and management of land set aside for conservation is effectively counter-balancing the impact of land clearing;
  • The release of the mapping categorising land has been delayed, limiting landholders’ ability to determine if their plans for clearing are lawful;
  • Responses to incidents of unlawful clearing are slow, with few tangible outcomes, and where approvals are given there is limited follow-up to ensure they are complied with; and
  • Despite around 1,000 instances of unexplained clearing and more than 500 reports to the environmental hotline each year, with around 300 investigations in progress at any one time, the Government has not commenced a single prosecution under the new laws.

Call to suspend land clearing

Interim opposition leader Penny Sharpe has called for the immediate suspension of the Berejiklian and Barilaro government’s self-assessed land clearing regime after a damning assessment was handed down finding failures at every stage.

Ms Sharpe said in a press release that the findings ‘validate the predictions of scientists and experts when the laws were introduced. Land clearing has increased but there are currently no measures to gauge the extent of any improvement in agricultural productivity, nor any measures to assess success in managing environmental risks.’

200,000 hectares cleared

‘It is alarming that 200,000 hectares of native vegetation has been approved for clearing since the new land-clearing laws commenced in August 2017. There is still no indication of how much was self-assessed or illegally cleared, with OEH (Office of Environment and Heritage) still assessing land clearing from 2017,’ said Byron Shire based ecologist Dailan Pugh.

‘The Auditor General’s report shows that the regulation of land-clearing in NSW is fraught with problems of weak processes, poor assessments, inadequate protection, limited monitoring and poor enforcement.

‘Though the biggest problems are caused by the government’s refusal to release the maps regulating 80 per cent of native vegetation, and the rules that make it hard to reject clearing applications.

Climate crisis

‘The NSW government needs to recognise that we are in a climate and extinction emergency and revisit their failed land clearing laws.

‘Retaining and expanding our forests to maximise their take-up and storage of atmospheric carbon is essential if we are to have any chance of avoiding the worst impacts of climate heating.’

Read report online at the audit office of NSW. 

 


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

4 COMMENTS

  1. A silencing answer, hey, Penny! Really. We
    are not allowed to know what’s what. So
    the answer’s got to be ‘the Government’s
    refusal to “release the maps” regulating the
    80% of native vegetation.’ See – that’s the
    lop-sided rule.

  2. These land clearing laws are NOT failing. They are doing exactly what was intended when this stinking COALition mob brought them into law. That is, to allow wholesale destruction of the remaining bushland of this State for the profit of private interests.

    Congratulations to all those who voted the Berejiklian/Barilaro bastards back in – your grandchildren will thank you.

  3. This is appalling. No wonder young people are despairing, there will be nothing left for them but desecration. Not to mention we’re in major long term draught and trees attract rain.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

ALP puts war power reform on the agenda

The Australian Labor Party will hold a public inquiry into how Australia goes to war if elected to government next year.

Help from Red Cross for flood-affected communities in NSW

With disasters coming thick and fast as the climate emergency worsens, Australian Red Cross this morning launched financial help for flood-affected communities in NSW.

Rocky Creek Field Day coming in July

As part of the Rural Landholder Initiative, rural landholders in the Rocky Creek area are invited to an Off-stream Watering and Riparian Habitat Field Day.

Professor Graham Samuel says dementia care is personal

In a moving address to the National Press Club in Canberra yesterday, Dementia Australia Chair Professor Graham Samuel AC shared his personal experience of dementia – the anguish, bewilderment, frustration and torment experienced by his mother as she descended into the abyss of the disease.