The NSW Government had introduced the Biodiversity Conservation Bill 2016 (“the Bill”) to the NSW Parliament. This Bill will reform current environmental law and replace a number of Acts including:
- the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995;
- the Nature Conservation Trust Act 2001; and
- parts of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974.
The NSW Environment Minister Mark Speakman has described the Bill as aiming to “facilitate ecologically sustainable development while better conserving biodiversity across NSW”. The Environment Minister noted the positive impact he believes these reforms will have on NSW farmers, stating that “the legislation will finally rid regional NSW of the inequitable and unbalance Native Vegetation Act, and will replace it with a reform package that restores fairness for farmers.”
The Environmental Defenders Office NSW has raised concerns with the proposed environmental law changes, describing the Bill as a “serious retrograde step as it involves removing many of NSW’s long-held environmental protections.”