Native veg site visits suspended

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FORMER Lands Minister and Barwon MP Kevin Humphries has commended the decision to suspend Native Vegetation compliance visits in the Spring Plains district.

FORMER Lands Minister and Barwon MP Kevin Humphries has commended the decision to suspend Native Vegetation compliance visits in the Spring Plains district.

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Landholders in the district north west of Wee Waa were due for compliance visits by Office of Environment and Heritage officers to review alleged land clearing in the area.

Mr Humphries said he was concerned the farmers were about to be unfairly targeted by compliance officers for works that might have been undertaken many years ago.

"Landholders in the area were offended by the action and rightly so," Mr Humphries said.

"I raised my concerns with Environment Minister Mark Speakman, as well as the Premier and Deputy Premier's offices, and I'd like to thank Mr Speakman for his timely response on the issue."

Mr Humphries said he would follow up on the issue in Sydney next week with his Coalition counterparts.

"Everybody knows the legislation is not workable and that revised legislation is needed to restore a balance in land management," he said.

Many landowners in Narrabri and Walgett have opposed the Native

Vegetation Act, which stops them from clearing their paddocks.

While the state government initiated a Biodiversity Legislation Review, which recommended the Act be replaced, many landowners are disgruntled it was not scrapped within the first term of the Coalition government.

Mr Humphries previously said the government also introduced self-assessable codes to make it easier for landowners to clear

vegetation.

"The Coalition has made a commitment to undertake this work and I will be meeting with the minister and a number of relevant ministers with associated responsibilities to ensure that commitment is made good.

"It's important to recognise that this is a planning issue, not an environment issue, and we need to get it right.

"The current draconian legislation punishes people who want to get on with their legitimate business which is why it has got to go."

The story Native veg site visits suspended first appeared on Farm Online.

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