Cash For Trees Robs Us All
Itching to do something about the land grab stripping NSW bare? Here we give you all the tips for letting the government know you want them to stop this improvident tree clearing!
We have six weeks to object to the Government's farcical Biodiversity Offset Management Scheme. Call our Environment Minister, Gabrielle Upton (02) 8574 6107. Call our Planning Minister, Anthony Roberts (02) 8574 5600. Learn more: www.landmanagement.nsw.gov.au/have-your-say
Under the new legislation introduced by the Baird Government last year - against the advice of scientists, farmers and our communities - cash for land clearing is set to devastate NSW.
The government has just released proposed new codes for land clearing for public feedback that will allow some farmers to remove as much as 625 hectares over three years. As reported in SMH, individual farmers could bulldoze native vegetation areas equal to 330 times the size of the Sydney Cricket Ground.
You can visit the Land Management and Biodiversity Conservation website to view the material on public exhibition.
Through the 'Biodiversity Offsets Management Scheme' developers will also have the option of paying cash if a suitable offset cannot be identified. We've created a more detailed explanation here.
Cash for clearing will be used a lot by developers. We've already seen it happen in Queensland.
It's no exaggeration to say this is madness. Scientific research shows land clearing presents a serious threat to Australia’s environment. It contributes to land degradation, salinity and declining water quality, damage to coastal marine zones, species extinctions and greenhouse emissions.
Ironically, native vegetation, sometimes denigrated as unproductive "weeds", is the last thing farmers should be clearing across NSW. It plays an important role in supporting productive cropping, pasture and grazing land, vital to a farmer’s financial viability. Native vegetation and regrowth provide soil fertility through nutrients, regulate the salt levels of the soil, prevent erosion, and control invasive insects, plants and animals.
Land clearing leads to habitat loss and habitat fragmentation, exposing what’s left to fire and invasive pests such as weeds. Native regrowth is important for native animals and for increasing the size of remnant areas of vegetation, essential for preventing extinctions. This habitat loss and fragmentation is especially concerning for native animals such as koalas...
The codes - which are yet to be backed up by vegetation maps showing the areas where farmers will be permitted to make their own assessments - remain too onerous and "riddled with red lights", said Mitchell Clapham, conservation chair at NSW Farmers.
"It is unreasonable to expect landholders without scientific qualifications to assess the ecological value of bushland and whether it can be cleared," Kate Smolski, chief executive of NSW Nature Conservation Council, said.
During the 6-week public consultation period we have a real opportunity to get a better outcome for nature.
What can You Do?
- Call Minister Upton's office (02) 8574 6107 and Minister Roberts' office (02) 8574 5600. One of their staff members will answer. Let them know that you would like to leave a message for the Minister.
- State that you are a NSW resident and that you are concerned about the Government's plan to allow developers to pay cash in exchange for clearing native vegetation.
- Be clear that you want the Minister to intervene and fix this. Ask that the Minister gets back to you to make sure that he/she has fully heard your concerns and that he/she will address these concerns
- Learn more about the proposals on exhibition. You can register for one of the upcoming webinars: www.landmanagement.nsw.gov.au/have-your-say.
The details are:
- Thursday 18 May 2:00-3:30pm - LMBC Reform Overview
- Wednesday 24 May 10:00 - 11:30am – Ecologically Sustainable Development and Native Plants and Animals
- Wednesday 24 May 2:00 - 3:30pm – Land Management Framework and Private Land Conservation
Our population is growing and the physical and mental wellbeing of communities is directly correlated with the amount of green space - trees, parks, bushland - located in their local area. The biodiversity of NSW belongs to all of us. It's not for sale!