Farmers and Greens reject NSW biodiversity reforms

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ONLINE TAGS - biodiversity, reform, nsw politics, parliament, native vegetation, nsw farmers

SUGGESTED HEADLINE - Farmers and Greens reject NSW biodiversity reforms

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IT SEEMS no one is happy with the New South Wales Government's biodiversity reforms, with both farmers and environmental groups railing against the changes.

The proposed bundle of reforms would replace existing environmental laws dictating how property owners can manage their land and native vegetation.

NSW Farmers president Derek Schoen CORRECT said the draft legislation was unworkable for farmers and "significant amendments (were) needed from start to finish".

He described the reforms in their current form as "overly convoluted".

"For over 20 years, the current Native Vegetation Act has hampered efficient farming practices and without significant changes, the draft laws run the real risk of repeating the mistakes of the past," Mr Schoen said.

"Many recommendations of the 2014 independent panel review have not been adequately addressed, leaving farmers at potential risk and introducing further uncertainty over land use."

NSW Farmers has made a submission to parliament calling for native vegetation regulatory maps to be released.

The group claims the new system would involve too much red tape and costs for farmers to implement and would give land management authorities excessive powers of entry and investigation.

The Greens have criticised the reforms for the opposite reason.

Upper House MP Jan Barham told parliament the proposed lifting of bans on broad-scale native vegetation clearing would be devastating for the environment.

She said the legislation in its current form would allow landholders to damage their property's biodiversity, as long as they could offset that damage somewhere else.

"What the passage of the proposed legislation will really mean is that we will be able to destroy something in the naive or mistaken belief that we can re-create it somewhere else," Ms Barham said.

"As anyone with an understanding of science knows, that is impossible.

"Biodiversity and its unique chaos of plants, animals, organisms and micro-organisms happens in situ.

"We cannot put it somewhere else."

The reforms are still under review. -ARM NEWSDESK



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