The first major step in the NSW government's overhaul of the Native Vegetation Act has been taken.
After years of promises a review into the Act was coming, an Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) spokesman confirmed the Independent Biodiversity Legislation Review Panel released an Issues Paper on Wednesday to address inadequacies in current environmental legislation.
This includes the Native Vegetation Act 2003, the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 and the Nature Conservation Trust Act 2001, plus parts of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974.
The review panel was put together in June, the spokesman said, and for the past two months has been gathering the information needed to release the Issues Paper and kick-start the review process.
One of the key areas of interest highlighted in the Issues Paper is the question of whether the current system effective in encouraging landowners to generate public benefits from their land and rewarding them as environmental stewards.
The paper also asks whether current mechanisms are too focused on requiring private landowners to protect ecosystem services and biodiversity at their own cost.
Other questions highlighted in the Issues Paper include asking to what extent has the current regulatory system resulted in lost development
opportunities and/or prevented innovative land management practices, and whether there should be an aspirational goal for biodiversity conservation.
The panel is seeking the community's input to answer these questions and many more, before providing an interim report to Environment Minister Rob Stokes on October 18, 2014, with a final report scheduled for December.
NSW Farmers were unable to comment by the time of publication.
The panel is made up of Dr Neil Byron, Dr Wendy Craik, Dr John Keniry and Professor Hugh Possingham.
Written submissions should be made by Friday, September 5 2014 by email to email@example.com, or by mail to Biodiversity Legislation Review, PO Box A290, Sydney South NSW 1232.