No need to adopt QLD native vegetation laws

The NSW Farmers’ Association has expressed concern about Federal Labor’s plan to adopt Queensland-style native vegetation laws as a nation-wide benchmark for biodiversity management if elected as the next Federal Government.  

NSW Farmers’ Conservation and Resource Management Chair, Bronwyn Petrie, said that while far from perfect, the New South Wales Biodiversity Conservation Act was delivering real benefits for the environment and must be upheld under any Federal Labor plan.

“The current laws in NSW have attempted to re-establish a balance between agriculture and the environment in the improvement of our biodiversity.  While they remain far from perfect, we believe they are superior to the laws which operate in Queensland and will fight tooth and nail for their retention under any national scheme,” Ms Petrie said.

“They are based upon the findings of an independent, scientific panel which found that the former legislation delivered reduced biodiversity outcomes. Locking up country so that it cannot be used for productive purposes has been shown to deliver worse environmental outcomes than allowing for proper, practical and scientific landscape management.”

“The laws in NSW provide some of the flexibility necessary to manage woody weeds and other threats to our environment.  However, greater flexibility is still needed to ensure we get the upper hand on weeds which crowd out native species and pastures and leads to biodiversity loss.”

“While we welcome Federal Labor’s commitment to financial incentives for farmers to protect their areas of high biodiversity value, we do not want to see a situation where a farmer is paid to farm weeds.  Biodiversity stewardship payments must recognise the significant value of high biodiversity conservation zones and rewards farmers accordingly, allowing them to manage it to improve it for future generations.”

Ms Petrie said farmers were our environment’s greatest stewards, advocates and defenders and trusting them to improve our biodiversity was an important step.

“We call on the recently re-elected Berejiklian Government to defend the state’s biodiversity framework from any further interference by the Commonwealth. Having fought hard for changes to give farmers greater flexibility in adaptive landscape management, now is not the time to sit idly by while Canberra attempts to further erode States’ rights”, Ms Petrie said

Date: Monday 1 April 2019
Media Contact:   Michael Burt  | 0428 228 988