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Drastic changes needed before farmers back biodiversity reforms

queensland sugar cane stock image

NSW Farmers cannot back the State Government’s draft biodiversity reforms unless drastic changes are made.

Ahead of the closing of a six-week public submission process, NSW Farmers has called for sweeping changes to the draft laws.

Association President, Mr Derek Schoen, said the draft legislation was unworkable for farmers and “significant amendments were needed from start to finish”.

“While the draft laws go some way towards addressing the concerns of farmers, they are overly convoluted. For over 20 years, the Native Vegetation Act has hampered efficient farming practices and without significant changes, the draft laws run the real risk of repeating the mistakes of the past.”

“Many recommendations of the 2014 independent panel review have not been adequately addressed, leaving farmers at potential risk and introducing further uncertainty over land use.”

In its final submission to the NSW Government, the Association outlined several areas of concern:

  • Native vegetation regulatory maps have not been released, making it impossible for farmers to fully assess the impact of the reforms.
  • Proposed land management codes will introduce excessive red tape and could impede the potential efficiency and equity of a system.
  • The cost of increasing productivity will be prohibitive for farmers.
  • The draft act also contains excessive powers of entry and investigation.

NSW Farmers call for changes follows an intensive campaign by the Association to consult with members and raise awareness of the urgent need for biodiversity reforms. The campaign, which called on people living in NSW to ‘Get the Whole Picture’ on land reform, included public forums across the State.

We welcome the commitment to increased investment in private land conservation and reiterate the need to repeal the Native Vegetation Act.

We urge the Government to listen to farmers who’ve been looking after the natural environment for generations.

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