Labor's iconic land clearing legislation to be repealed; O'Farrell Government continues attack on environment

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The O’Farrell Government has today signalled it will rip up vital native vegetation and threatened species protections – in yet another attack on environmental protection in NSW.

Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner has boasted to the Nationals conference in Bathurst today that the Government will repeal both the Native Vegetation Act and the Threatened Species Conservation Act, and “let farmers clear paddock trees, manage invasive native species and thin native vegetation using self-assessable codes.”

The current legislation – both iconic legacies of the Carr Labor Government – provides critical protections against broad scale land clearing of the remaining bush across the state. Scientists have agreed that clearing this bushland is the greatest threat to the biodiversity of the state.

Furthermore, the avoidance of deforestation achieved by land clearing legislation has allowed Australia to fulfil its carbon reduction targets – something that will be placed under threat with the reversal of this legislation.

“The remnants of bushland in the state’s west will now be under threat – with these areas providing the last refuge for many animals from the vast sea of cleared agricultural land,” Shadow Environment Minister Luke Foley said.

“The only reason to adjust these pieces of legislation is to allow for unchecked environmental vandalism.

“The threatened species legislation is currently all that stands between our diminishing native animals and a complete wipeout.

“The many animals such as koalas, quolls and gliders that rely on this legislation to protect the destruction of their habitats will now be under threat.

“This is a dark day for the environment in NSW.

“Today we have seen this government continue their assault on the environment.

“Once again Premier Barry O’Farrell and Environment Minister Robyn Parker have failed to fulfil their core responsibility to protect this state’s crucial environment – and instead have bowed down to their extreme anti-environmental Nationals colleagues.

“The people of NSW cannot believe the reassurances provided by Andrew Stoner and Robyn Parker today that any changes will provide environmental protections.

“This Minister should be ashamed of her inability to provide basic environmental protections for NSW.”