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June 20, 2024

Former NSW Premier Bob Carr backs end to land clearing in NSW

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Former NSW Premier Bob Carr backs campaign to end land clearing. Photo Wikimedia

In NSW ‘54 per cent of the state’s original forest – an area about the size of New Zealand – have been destroyed’ in the last 250 years. That is approximately that 29 million hectares of the forests and woodlands with logging having occurred across 435,000 hectares of NSW between January 200 to August 2022 according to WWF Australia.

Habitat clearing for agricultural development is now the biggest cause of environmental loss in NSW, with 50 million trees and almost 100,000 hectares lost in NSW each year.   

Bob Carr with a burnt-out forest giant. Photo supplied.

Recognising the impacts of logging and clearing native forests former NSW Premier Bob Carr has backed ongoing calls to halt land clearing in NSW.

‘The previous government took a wrecking ball to our environmental protection laws, and without decisive action, we risk a future where much of the ecosystems we take for granted are no more,’ Bob Carr said today.  

Time to protect nature

The recently published study The impacts of contemporary logging after 250 years of deforestation and degradation on forest-dependent threatened species highlighted that ‘Forestry advocates often claim logging has minimal impacts, but rarely consider the cumulative threat deforestation and degradation has had, and continue to have, on species.’

In a bid to instigate change the Stand Up for Nature Alliance (SUFN), a coalition of leading environmental groups, is seeking to fix the biodiversity offset scheme, end the controversial self-assessment process for land clearing, and reform the Biodiversity Conservation Act, so that our environmental laws do what they are meant to – protect nature. 

‘The NSW government made an election commitment to deliver reforms in all of these areas. However, before the details have even been announced we’ve seen lobbyists for agribusiness launch a dedicated misinformation campaign in both the media and the halls of parliament,’ NCC acting CEO Dr Brad Smith said today. 

‘Most Farmers in NSW are now on board with sustainable land management. Now it’s up to the NSW government to fix the current laws that give a competitive advantage to bad actors – typically multinational agri-businesses with no concern for the long-term viability of Australia’s ecosystems,’ Mr Smith continued. 

Land clearing at a property at Glengarrie Road on Mount Tomewin. Photo supplied

Land clearing tripled

NCC acting CEO Dr Brad Smith pointed out that ‘In 2016, the former government’s changes to the Native Vegetation Act and Local Land Services Act  created loopholes that allowed agricultural developers to get away with destroying critical habitats.’

‘The changes saw land clearing rates triple after allowing people who stand to profit most to ‘self-assess’ the ecological value of their land and approve its destruction.  

‘It’s absurd that commercial agribusiness operators can simply tick a box and decide that there is nothing of environmental significance in an area they want to clear. It’s like getting a student to mark their own exam.  

‘There are no other instances in which a citizen of NSW can simply give themselves regulatory approval for land use change and development.  Yet that’s exactly what these reforms do; allow landholders with a financial incentive to clear-fell a piece of land to self-assess its ecological value,’ he said.  

Land clearing is now responsible for ten per cent of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions – more than waste and aviation combined. The 40 million tonnes of carbon emissions it generated in 2022 is more than Greater Sydney generated in a year.  

‘Australia not only holds the infamous title of having the world’s worst mammal extinction rate and being the only developed nation in the top 1ten global deforestation hotspots, we now run the risk of becoming the poster child for what not to do in the face of climate change,’ said Rebecca Keeble, Oceania Regional Director, International Fund for Animal Welfare.

Mr Car says ‘I am very confident that Premier Chris Minns and Ministers Sharpe and Moriarty will work together with the environment movement and farmers on this issue and deliver big. They understand, as we all do, that some of the biggest gains for the environment in the history of NSW from the time of Neville Wran have been achieved by dedicated voluntary conservationists working with sympathetic Labor governments.’


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1 COMMENT

  1. Victoria’s Dan The Magnificent has ended Native Forest logging as from 1/1/24.
    Time for Minns to wake up, catchup, and end the ForestSlaughter.

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