The National Parks Association of NSW (NPA) is alarmed at revelations that new local land clearing codes are being trialled near Walgett.

The development of special rules for the State’s largest properties was disclosed by Adam Marshall, Minister for Agriculture and Western NSW, during this week’s Budget Estimate hearings. A pilot project has been underway in Walgett since early 2018.

“It looks like these new local codes are designed to further increase the disastrous loss of native vegetation under the Government’s 2016 land clearing laws, which have seen a tripling of clearance rates across NSW[1] said Gary Dunnett, Executive Officer of NPA.

The one positive environmental protection in the 2016 laws was the requirement for ‘environmental set’ aside areas, and now it looks like even those are under threat. 

“Our rivers are devastated and on the point of collapse. It’s incredible that, in the grip of a terrible drought, we would consider compounding the issue by removing the safeguards that the government said would prevent runaway land clearing.

“We know that land clearing is linked to declining rainfall and increasing duration and intensity of drought in south-east Australia[2]. This is only going to get worse as global heating bites ever harder.

“The ongoing viability of farming operations is dependent on healthy, functioning ecosystems”

“Those in charge of land management are blindly repeating the mistakes of the past. By plundering our water, soil and native vegetation we’re asking for a repeat of the Federation Drought of the 1890s that led to such extreme land degradation that we’re still feeling the effects today[3].

“Environment Minister, Matt Kean, must rein in this ill-conceived pilot and refuse to sign off on any more vegetation loss before we stagger into a tragedy.”

Ends. Media contact: Gary Dunnett 9299 0000


[1]https://www.nature.org.au/media-releases/2019/06/tree-clearing-triples-berejiklian-s-conservation-laws-fail-nature/

[2]https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1365-2486.2009.01939.x

[3]https://www.soe.epa.nsw.gov.au/all-themes/land/soil-condition

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