The Gerroa Environment Protection Society is hosting an Environmental Defenders Office workshop to explain the impact of what it believes is retrograde state government biodiversity and land clearing legislation.
“The workshop will inform people about what this legislation will mean for our area and provide material to help them make submissions by the closing date of June 28,” says Howard Jones, the Society’s secretary.
The State Government proposes to scrap the Threatened Species Conservation and Land Clearing Acts and replace them with Biodiversity Conservation and amended Local Land Services Acts.
“This Bill seeks to loosen regulation to make it easier to clear native vegetation in most rurally zoned lands, including those in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven. Farmers or developers who want to clear particularly sensitive vegetation will have easier access to compensatory offsets or they can simply pay a ‘bio tax’ into a Biodiversity Conservation Fund. It’s as easy as that,” Howard says. “In some cases they will be able to self-assess the environmental impacts of their clearing themselves with minimal regulation.
“All the peak environment groups walked out of the government’s consultation on this legislation recently because they recognised that this legislation would lead to extensive land clearing, loss of biodiversity and increased atmospheric CO2.
“It’s quite astonishing that the NSW Government has not only failed to plan for climate related threats to biodiversity in this Bill but they have embedded mechanisms to increase global warming by making it easier to clear native forests and increase CO2 emissions.
“This is in stark contrast to the Government’s more visionary new Coastal Management Policy, which recognises and embraces the need to adapt to climate change. These two policies appear to be a driven by conflicting objectives and principles and we all need to ask why?
“These National Party driven changes will turn the clock back on the heritage of biodiversity protection built up in NSW over the last 30 years and contribute to climate change.
“I hope that people will come along to our workshop next Monday and learn how they can take a stand and have a say on this retrograde legislation.”
Details: Monday 20 June, 6pm, Gerroa Neighbourhood Hall. For further information see www.edonsw.org.au/gerroa_2016