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Native Vegetation: An Update

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A whole-of-landscape approach to vegetation management that balances social, economic and environmental outcomes. The Government is considering the need for a whole-of-landscape approach to accommodate areas such Walgett and Nyngan, and the southern Mallee, whereby farmers can group together to develop regions in an economically and environmentally sustainable way. A proper funding mechanism to address the inevitable social and economic impacts of the Government enforcing biodiversity conservation on private land; Exemptions that ensure routine agricultural practices can continue without red tape – the exemptions provided in the regulation are too prescriptive; Improvements to the system for invasive species management; Stronger decision powers for CMAs; Increased privacy regarding information contained in property vegetation plans; Provision for private native forestry based on a practical code of practice. 11

According to NSW Farmers, the funding provisions are insufficient to address the socio- economic impacts of enforcing biodiversity conservation on private land across NSW. Farmers should not be expected to provide a public good without payment for the provision of that service – particularly when providing that service significantly impacts on their ability to earn income from their business. In this regard, the Association is pressing the government to implement a scheme that pays farmers at fair market rates for providing biodiversity services on their land. However, NSW Farmers also noted that payment for biodiversity services is not the full answer. Farmers want the flexibility to manage land for both conservation and production so they can afford to fund their own environmental initiatives. Land degradation, feral animal and weed control are major environmental problems that are costly to address. Prescriptive environmental legislation not only restricts farmers ability to take effective action; it reduces their ability to pay for that action. 12

The Total Environment Centre also recognized advances in the regulatory environment, but stated that more needs to be done, including:

  • a strong compliance and monitoring system;

  • curbs on the use of rotational agriculture, that converts remnant vegetation to regrowth and makes it easier to clear;

  • urgent review of so-called invasive scrub clearing, which can create a cover for the return of broadscale clearing;

  • controls on private native forestry, which is currently unsustainable and not subject to acceptable environmental prescriptions;

  • increased protection for native grasslands;

  • new urban planning controls that put development in already cleared locations and

11

NSW Farmers Association, Native Vegetation, Frequently Asked Questions. January 2006. See website: http://www.nswfarmers.org.au/rural campaigns/native vegetation. Accessed April 2006.

12

NSW Farmers Association, Native Vegetation, Frequently Asked Questions. January 2006. See website: http://www.nswfarmers.org.au/rural campaigns/native vegetation. Accessed April 2006.

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