Draft Codes for the new native vegetation regime released
The draft Regulations and Codes for the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 and the Local Land Services Amendment Act 2016 were released on 10 May 2017. The draft regulations and codes are now open for the public to provide their feedback. The date for submissions closes on 21 June 2017.
The codes can be found under this link:
The Codes are complex and do not appear to simplify land management practices for farmers or graziers. Any clearing of native vegetation can only be carried out after notification of intended clearing has first been provided to Local Land Services. The Codes maintain that any clearing of native vegetation in the absence of notification is deemed to be illegal clearing.
The crucial aspect of the Local Land Services Amendment Act 2016 is the regulatory property mapping. The mapping is said to define areas of land where permission is required for clearing or alternatively where landholders are permitted to ‘manage’ native vegetation at their discretion. Disappointingly the maps have not yet been released and we are told the maps will not be released until late July at the earliest. It also appears that the New South Wales Government will be publishing the draft maps from which property owners can then seek a review of how their property is classified if required.
The Current Law in relation to Land Clearing in New South Wales
Contrary to popular belief there is no amnesty in place in relation to unauthorised clearing of native vegetation in New South Wales.
The Native Vegetation Act 2003 remains in place until such time as the Local Land Services Amendment Act 2016 and the supporting Regulations are proclaimed.
Whilst the Local Land Services Amendment Act was assented on 23 November 2016 it is not yet in force in New South Wales.
There appears to be a wide spread and misinformed belief that the new regime is currently enforceable in New South Wales, this is not the case and all property owners need to be aware that the 2003 Native Vegetation Act remains in force.
Property owners should also be aware that the Office of Environment & Heritage are presently undertaking several investigations in relation to alleged, unlawful clearing throughout the North West of the state, particularly in the Moree district.
Please contact Brendan Moylan in our Moree office for more information.
02 6752 2244
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