The Coalition announces its vision for agriculture in NSW – native vegetation gets the chop!  (Park Protection News)

The National Parks Association of NSW is disappointed with the Coalition partners’ decision to repeal the Native Vegetation Act.

“The Liberal/Nationals government has missed the point entirely about looking after the interests of our farming community and wildlife,” NPA CEO Kevin Evans said.

“Once again they have chosen to pander to the loud, ill-informed minority who have for years bayed to weaken land clearing protections.

“The ignorant ideology behind this decision will see nature coming off second best once again.

“The Coalition has denied the community a chance to scrutinise far-reaching changes to the laws that protect nature in NSW.

“This is not just a rural issue because there is more at stake here than increasing agricultural production.

“A major wave of wildlife extinctions is now occurring in our agricultural zone and this decision will seal the fate of many more native species.

“Native vegetation also provides a range of on-farm benefits such as the control of land degradation, salinity and soil erosion; shelter and shade for stock; and habitat for birds and other organisms that prey on pests and pollinate crops. It protects livestock, particularly lambs and calves, from heat and cold stress.”

The NSW Native Vegetation Act has been an undoubted success for sustainable agriculture and biodiversity, by effectively reducing broad scale clearing in NSW since its implementation in 2003.

Over that time clearing due to agriculture declined by 68%, while clearing due to development declined by 57%.

“In Queensland, where native vegetation clearing rules were significantly weakened in 2014, 275,000 hectares were cleared from Queensland in the last financial year, which was a tripling of land clearing rates since 2010.

“This should send alarm bells ringing to what we can expect in NSW with the Native Vegetation Act repealed.

“Seventy-five percent of the State’s land resources and extracted water are already used by agriculture whilst land protected for nature represents less than 9%. Nature needs half, not less than 10%. There are 970 plants and animals listed as threatened with extinction in NSW. Loss of habitat is one of the primary threats implicated in this appalling record.

“Scrapping the Native Vegetation Act would undermine the benefits of the Coalition’s promised $100 million investment in threatened species recovery. This is a disaster for nature and it will undoubtedly lead to less productive agriculture industry.”

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