Biodiversity headlines Cooma pre-election forum 

The biodiversity and environment policies of the major parties will go under the spotlight at a NSW Farmers Pre-Election forum in Cooma on 14 March. 

NSW Farmers’ fifth and final pre-election will focus on the environment, including landscape management and pests and weeds, as part of the Association’s campaign to further improve the balance between biodiversity, agriculture and the environment. 

NSW Farmers Cooma Branch chair Craig Mitchell said all political parties need to boost the recognition of farmers’ environmental stewardship in any further biodiversity reforms. 

“A farmers’ land is their greatest asset – they aspire to leave it in a more environmentally sustainable and productive condition than that in which they found it,” Mr Mitchell said. 

“Creating a sustainable agricultural sector in NSW requires us to actively manage our landscape.  Better, active landscape management improves soil quality and increases the presence of native flora and fauna.  We need our environmental management laws to be based on science, not emotion – the current laws, while far from perfect, are an improvement and led to better outcomes for the environment, too.”

NSW Farmers is seeking $50 million to support a 10-point plan for further reform to the Biodiversity Conservation Act (BCA) and supporting vegetation Codes and additional resourcing for the Local Land Services (LLS).   

Mr Mitchell said local environmental issues are also expected to headline questions for the Hon Rick Colless MLC (Nationals), Clayton Barr MP (Labor), the Hon Robert Borsak MLC (Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party) and Cate Faehrmann MLC (Greens). 

“Wild dog management is an ongoing issue for our region and an increasing deer population is adding further pressure on the environment. This needs a bipartisan approach, along the lines of the bipartisan commitment to extend the wild dog fence in western NSW. ”

“We would also like to see support from all parties to continue working with local farmers on native grasslands management in our region. Recent reforms have led to us finally getting somewhere with grasslands management.  Tackling African love grass requires a consistent, determined and flexible approach – turning back the clock would see this invasive species crowd out native species and undo all the gains made in the recent past.”

The NSW Farmers pre-election forum will be held at the Cooma Ex-Services Club on Thursday 14 March 2019, starting at 7.00pm. 

Date: Tuesday 12 March 2019
Media Contact:   Michael Burt  | 0428 228 988