Cotton Australia recently provided comment on the NSW Government’s proposed NSW biodiversity conservation reform package, as part of public and stakeholder consultation on the draft legislation. In its submission, Cotton Australia acknowledged the significance of these reforms and the opportunity they bring to improve the current system.
The NSW Government’s intent in these reforms is to create a more balanced framework that:
- gives farmers the flexibility to make decisions about their land, while helping them protect the environment
- provides incentives to farmers to conserve land, while encouraging innovative farming practices
- invests in private land conservation
- is based on scientific evidence
More information is available here: www.landmanagement.nsw.gov.au
The NSW Government plans to introduce the reforms to the Parliament towards the end of 2016, and commence with some of the changes in early 2017.
In its submission, Cotton Australia raised a number of concerns, particularly around the fact that a critical part of the reform package – the regulatory map – has not been released for consultation with the rest of the reform package. The map will identify key classifications at the property level. We understand that the map will not be accessible until January 2017.
Given the map is key to understanding how the reforms will actually affect farmers, Cotton Australia recommended that the Government release the draft map for a further, full consultation period before the map is live and part of the legislation. Cotton Australia also recommended that there be a process for landholders to appeal a mapping determination.