Native Vegetation: An Update
following (section 28):
proposals for clearing native vegetation on the land;
the identification of native vegetation on the land as regrowth;
proposals relating to the thinning of native vegetation in the central area of the
State that has regrown between 1 January 1983 and 1 January 1990; (d)proposals to enable landholders to obtain financial incentives for the management of natural resources, being proposals relating to the carrying out or funding of native vegetation management activities by catchment management authorities or other bodies;
proposals relating to the continuation of existing farming or other rural practices;
provisions excluding clearing for routine agricultural management or other
activities from being permitted clearing; (g)such other provisions as are prescribed by the regulations.
The Minister is not to approve a plan if it proposes broadscale clearing of native vegetation unless the clearing concerned will improve or maintain environmental outcomes. A property vegetation plan is valid for up to a maximum of 15 years. If agreed by the land owner, a property vegetation plan may be registered on the title of the land so that it applies to any successors in title of the land.
Part 5 of the Act deals with its enforcement. For this part, a reference to a contravention of the Act includes: the Act itself; a property vegetation plan; conditions of development consent granted to clear native vegetation; and an order or direction of the Director- General. This includes: powers of entry and inspection; stop work orders; directions for remedial work; and provisions for appeals. The Act provides for any person to bring proceedings in the Land and Environment Court for an order to remedy or restrain a contravention of the Act.
The Native Vegetation Act and natural resource management reforms were accompanied by significant funding. Some $434 million over four years was committed from the Natural Heritage Trust, National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality, the NSW Sustainability Trust and NSW Land and Water Management Plan Program. The funds are to be spent via the Catchment Management Authorities. 10
The Act was supported by a wide range of interest groups, and was assented to on 11 December 2003. However, the implementation of the Act relied on the development and implementation of its regulations. Indicating the complexity and competing issues when dealing with native vegetation, these regulations took almost two years to develop, and were gazetted on 18 November 2005.
The Native Vegetation Act Regulations
The Act only allows broadscale clearing where it improves or maintains environmental outcomes. Part 5 of the regulations deals with the assessment methodology to determine
Hon Dr David Kemp MP “$434 Million to Protect Conserve and Repair NSW Environment”. Media Release, 25 February 2004.