Relief for native vegetation hangover

Filed under Agriculture, Environment & Pollution, News ~ by Press on  1 Aug 2019

The NSW Government has delivered some certainty to farmers facing potential compliance action under outdated native vegetation laws.

NSW Farmers Conservation and Resource Management Chair, Bronwyn Petrie, says farming communities will welcome news that there will be no new investigations or prosecutions under the failed Native Vegetation Act 2003.

The Minister for Agriculture said he would fix ‘legacy’ issues with the old act at the NSW Farmers Annual Conference last week.

Today he has joined the Minister for the Environment in taking a significant step in doing just that,” Ms Petrie said.

The two Ministers jointly announced today that there will be no new prosecutions under the old laws as well as changes to remediation orders and new assessment processes to ensure people are not punished if their actions would have been legal under the Government’s new biodiversity framework.

An independent scientific panel concluded that the old act resulted in perverse environmental outcomes and biodiversity loss and hence it was replaced in 2017,” Ms Petrie said.

For example, these old laws inhibited farmer’s proper management of invasive native species.”

The State government is to be commended for taking decisive action today for farmers that were unfairly subject to prosecutions under a failed act. These cases will now be assessed under the new legislation, and any activities that do not meet the new requirements will still be acted on.”

Ms Petrie said the the new native vegetation codes are driven by environmental and production outcomes.

Farmers are the best at producing food and fibre and the best environmental stewards at the same time. The new biodiversity framework goes a long way in recognising this.”

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