Click here to download a copy of the GEPS submission
The Gerroa Environmental Protection Society will be holding a workshop in association with the NSW Environmental Defenders Office at the Gerroa Neighbourhood Hall on Monday June 20 at 6PM to inform residents about the new State Biodiversity and land clearing legislation.
The State Government is scrapping the Threatened Species Conservation and Land Clearing Acts and part of the National Parks and Wildlife Act and replacing them with a watered down Biodiversity Conservation and amended Local Land Services Acts. These changes will lead to extensive land clearing, loss of biodiversity and increase atmospheric CO2.
This ADO workshop is to inform people about these laws and to provide material and suggestions to help make a submission by June 28.
Further information can be obtained at:
State Government public consultation sessions
NSW Government website https://www.landmanagement.nsw.gov.au/have-your-say/
Gerroa Environment Protection Society
A bio tax or a fairy dust windfall – it all depends in which Liberal National government you deal with.
Gerroa Environment Protection Society secretary Howard Jones questioned the absurd contradictions of State and Federal Coalition land management approaches with the release of the new Biodiversity Conservation Act?
“If the Baird government was proud of its draft Biodiversity Conservation and amended Local Land Services Acts it wouldn’t have sneakily released them under cover of the budget last Tuesday”. Howard said
“The reason for this cowardly strategy is they well know they have a fight on their hands with the entire environmental movement up in arms over this catastrophic bill and want to keep it under voter’s radar in this politically charged election season. All the peak environment groups walked out of their consultation meetings last month for good reason because this bill will lead to extensive land clearing, loss of biodiversity and increase atmospheric CO2”.
“The land clearing components of these laws will apply to rurally zoned lands in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven and when farmers or developers want to clear sensitive vegetation all they will be required to do is pay a ‘bio tax’ and in some cases self assess the environmental impacts”.
“This legislation will make it easier for farmers, developers and miners to clear biologically rare native vegetation, including Endangered Ecological Communities, and where offsets aren’t available they will be able to pay their way out of their responsibilities”.
“It’s absurd that the Federal Government is paying farmers hundreds of millions of dollars to keep forests in the ground under its Direct Action Plan while the NSW government is requiring farmers to pay for the right to clear these same forests in the name of biodiversity conservation”. Howard said
This new bill will see most of the significant environmental laws in the State scrapped, including the Threatened Species Conservation Act, Land clearing laws and part on the National Parks and Wildlife Act.
There is an eight week public consultation period for people who wish to make submissions on these draft bills and further information is available at: http://www.lanmdmanagement.nsw.gov.au
Howard H Jones (Secretary of the Gerroa Environment Protection Society)
The proposed forced amalgamation of Kiama and Shoalhaven Local Government Areas ignores the significant differences between the two areas topographically, geologically, agriculturally and biologically.
It also ignores the differences in the approach that the two Councils have taken to the protection of significant natural resources and how those differences are expressed in the Local Environment Plans for the areas.
GEPS Submission re Amalgamation highlights these and other issues that support the case for rejection of the forced amalgamation proposal.
Information about the proposed forced amalgamation and the submission process can be obtained by visiting a number of web resources:
One of the campaign websites that has up to date information can be seen here
Support with Submissions which are due by 28th February 2016 can be seen here
The Facebook site for the Kiama Anti-Amalgamation campaign can be viewed here
The Baird government is poised to scrap nature conservation laws that currently protect some of the Illawarra region’s most important natural areas, including Seven Mile Beach, Saddleback Mountain rainforests and the Illawarra Escarpment, according to the Gerroa Environmental Protection Society.
The government is considering its response to a report by the Independent Biodiversity Legislation Review Panel, which has recommended scrapping the Native Vegetation Act, the Threatened Species Conservation Act and parts of the National Parks and Wildlife Act.
“If the Baird government adopts the report recommendations it would be the most far-reaching dismantling of environmental protection laws ever proposed in this state,” GEPS secretary Howard Jones said.
“The Report acknowledges that some of its proposals could lead to loss of biodiversity and its approach is risk- based.
“These proposals open the door to increased clearing of native vegetation. The purpose of existing biodiversity protection laws is to reduce land clearing and protect biodiversity. This Report heralds a different purpose that aims to make it easier for economic activities like agriculture, logging, development and mining within native vegetation areas. The mechanisms they propose to achieve this is; reduced regulations, self-regulation, the ‘broadening and deepening of biodiversity offsets’ and divestment of responsibility to Local Land Services and Councils.
“If this approach is accepted, the native vegetation in the Illawarra would be vulnerable.
“Although 87% of the Kiama’s original rainforest has been cleared, the areas that still stand are part of the largest area of subtropical rainforest in southeast Australia.
“Now that the council tree preservation orders no longer apply to this vegetation, its conservation depends on strong native vegetation and threatened species legislation.
“We fear that scrapping these Acts will make it easier for development to occur within this endangered ecological community.”
GEPS will hold a protest at Saddleback Lookout at midday on Wednesday 25th February to highlight these threats to Kiama’s rainforest.
“We also want to raise concerns about the consequences for landholders who have entered into Voluntary Conservation Agreements (VCAs) on their lands. Howard Jones said.
“The Report proposes to enable Voluntary Conservation Agreements to be swapped for Biodiversity Offsetting Agreements. This would mean the values of these already conserved lands could be used to offset clearing of vegetation elsewhere, resulting in overall biodiversity losses.
“When we signed the Voluntary Conservation Agreement on our property, we thought its biodiversity values would be conserved forever.
“We are horrified to think that at some time in the future our VCA protected land in this remarkable rainforest could become a tool to enable vegetation destruction in other areas.
“We want to know whether the Baird government intends to adopt the recommendations in this report and go down the Queensland path of tearing down environmental protection.
“We hope that candidates and media will keep them to their commitment to announce their intentions unambiguously before the coming election so voters can determine if this government seriously cares about the environment.”
Local landowners with Voluntary Conservation Agreements and GEPS members and friends will gather at Saddleback Mountain Lookout near Kiama to express their concerns about these changes at 12:00 on Wednesday 25th February.
Howard H Jones (Secretary, Gerroa Environmental Protection Society)
Phone 42323173 mobile:
Link to Department of Environment Biodiversity Review Web Page: http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/biodiversitylegislation/review.htm
Click on the image to go to the website in a new window.
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