Make a Submission on Biodiversity
We have concerns about legislation that the Baird Government is proposing to introduce early next month. We are asking members to send an email or letter during February to their local state MP with the aim of persuading the politicians to modify the bill before it goes before Cabinet.
There has been widespread destruction of native vegetation in urban areas of NSW as a result of the 10/50 rules and infrastructure and housing development. Now the government is proposing to introduce a new Biodiversity Conservation Act that will allow further destruction in rural and urban areas chiefly through weakening the offsets policy.
Previously the requirement was that bushland and wildlife habitat destroyed had to be replaced under a like-for-like principle. If this was not possible then the development could not go ahead. The new proposal is that developers will be able to substitute entirely different vegetation or even just pay into a government environmental fund. More details are available from http://www.nature.org.au/campaigns/nature-laws/.
Here are contact details for local MPs. Also please contact your federal MP to make the point that the NSW Government is sabotaging Australia's greenhouse gas reduction commitments.
Suggested points to be made in letters are as follows but please put into your own words.
I write in relation to the NSW Government's proposal to rewrite the biodiversity laws that protect nature across NSW in the city and country and seek your urgent assistance to make representations to the NSW Premier on my behalf.
The changes recommended by the Biodiversity Review Panel and accepted by the government risk a return to broad-scale tree clearing across NSW, loss of threatened ecosystems and loss of essential vegetation in urban environments. I do not support the proposed biodiversity offsets policy, under which there will be no requirement for like-for-like offsets and where developers will be able to pay money into a fund in exchange for destroying vegetation.
If enacted your government's proposals will result in a significant loss of wildlife habitat, release millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and reduce air quality. They will also increase soil erosion and impact water quality in some our driest regions.
The Federal Government is investing millions of dollars in planting trees to address Australia’s climate change commitments, and talks about improving tree cover in the cities, while the NSW Government prepares to increase tree clearing in rural and urban areas.
As my member of parliament, I request that you make my objections known to the Premier immediately. I also seek your commitment to protect existing laws and build on them for even more effective laws to fulfill the government's election promise to enhance outcomes for nature.
In STEP Matters, Issue 183, p4 (Concern about Changes to Biodiversity Laws) we explained the reasons for concerns about the NSW Government’s plans to rewrite the biodiversity laws. The new legislation is due to be released in March 2016 and the indications are that protections will be significantly weakened.