The National Trust has joined Stand Up for Nature, an alliance of conservation groups dedicated to improving protection for nature in NSW.
The National Trust has joined Stand Up for Nature, an alliance of conservation groups dedicated to improving protection for nature in NSW. The Trust will be lobbying against proposed legislation which, in the Trust’s view, would dramatically increase land clearing in NSW with major adverse impacts on biodiversity conservation and efforts to deal with climate change.
This is an unusual step for the Trust, but, in the past we have joined with other like-minded groups to oppose sand mining along the NSW coast (1964), to lobby for the creation of Myall Lakes National Park (1968), to oppose rainforest logging (1980s) and more recently to protect Sydney Harbour defence sites and NSW public lands.
The Trust has many concerns with the proposed legislation and these can be read in detail in the National Trust submission. A recent statement from the Wentworth Group of Scientists condemning the draft legislation is also very informing. Some of the Trust’s major concerns are –
- the proposed legislation will facilitate the removal of iconic paddock trees such as those depicted in the paintings of Hans Heysen,
- increasing emissions by removing restrictions on land clearing will directly contradict Australia’s recent signing of the Paris Climate Agreement and undermine Federal Government policy and financial commitments ($1.2 billion has been spent by the federal government on purchasing emissions via avoided clearing and re-vegetation under the national Emissions Reduction Fund.
- The legislation virtually ignores climate change. Research has proven that land clearing reduces rainfall, increases the duration of droughts and exacerbates El Niño The draft legislation lists human-caused climate change as a key threatening process for biodiversity but does not deal with this threat with only two references to climate change in the 213 pages of the legislation.
- Vulnerable ecological communities of vegetation will be less protected and mining will be permitted in areas of high biodiversity value.
- The role of the Minister for the Environment is diminished. Important decisions on biodiversity should be the role and prerogative of the Minister for the Environment.