Through discussions with member groups we have identified issues for submissions on consultation on the Biodiversity Conservation Bill 2016 and Local Land Services Amendment Bill 2016.

1.  Contradiction /inconsistency between Objectives of Biodiversity Conservation Bill 2016 and Local Land Services Amendment Bill 2016 and also with previous Native Vegetation Act 2003

2.  Reliance on base data which is not at required standard

  • Not dealing with grasslands and grassy woodlands and sparse trees
  • Perhaps all grasslands should be Category 1 unless proven otherwise

3.  Could amend existing Acts rather than repeal e.g. Native Vegetation Act 2003

4.  Limited public access into future processes including limited appeal rights

  • Some processes not yet outlined so difficult to comment e.g. no regulations, no guidelines, only one code

5.  Covenanted lands can be changed to offsets; conservation agreements can be cancelled

6.  Biodiversity offsets

  • Already created offsets have no security
  • Offsetting on offsets should not be allowed
  • Like-for-like offsets no longer required; offsets not even required in same region
  • Cash in lieu offsets not acceptable: does not necessarily result in on-ground work
  • Information is not publicly available: among other things allows for defence of ignorance when damage occurs

7.  Inconsistencies with Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) and inconsistencies with agreement between Australian and NSW Governments on implementation of EPBC Act.

8.  Funding decisions impact resourcing for implementation

  • Not enough funds available to manage, monitor, assess
  • Inadequate resourcing to implement (staffing etc.) and this has been used to undermine existing legislation and justify new legislation

9.  Assessment process

  • Previous assessment worked; new process inferior
  • Code has no assessment of threatened species

10. Administrative aspects not clear – monitoring, data, reporting

11. Missed opportunity for legislative reform

  • See 3 and 8 above

12. Set aside ratios set up bad outcomes

  • E.g. 1:3 could mean removal of 1ha high value biodiversity being replaced by 3ha revegetation (with minimal biodiversity): mature woodlands could be replaced by revegetation and pasture with a few seedlings

13. LLS legislation treats landholders more favourably than Biodiversity Conservation Bill

14. There are risks:

  • Undermining other efforts and programs
  • Threatening processes e.g. land clearing which the new rules will enable