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Native veg repeal a victory for farmers

For two decades Labor's Native Vegetation laws were crippling farmers. Labor's views on how to manage the environment created a wedge between conservationists and farmers who, despite a common interest in caring for the land, were defined as polar opposites.

Since entering government in 2011, The Nationals have worked hard to repeal the draconian Native Vegetation Act 2003 that treated farmers like second-class citizens on their own land, and now, it is officially dead, thanks to a vote in State Parliament last week.  

The death of the Native Vegetation Act 2003 evolved from extensive public consultation and a list of recommendations known as the Independent Biodiversity Legislation Review, which acknowledged that farmers needed more flexibility in farming their land.  

The new laws use an internationally recognised approach and will allow farmers to be more productive and accountable for their approaches to land management. The changes also acknowledge farmers as true on-ground conservationists, rather than demonising them, as was the case under Labor's rigorous legislation.  

The repeal of the damaging native veg act delivers upon one of our key election commitment and has been welcomed by the NSW Farmers Association. Limits and safeguards on land clearing will still exist, but no longer in direct conflict with a farmer's rights to farm.   

Minister for Primary Industries, Lands and Water Niall Blair said the repeal was the start of a new relationship between farmers and Government:

“Farmers should be able to be productive and profitable while still working to improve the environment – these reforms will finally allow them to get on with doing that,” he said. “We’ve committed to this being a balanced, fair and ecologically sustainable package.”

The two bills that essentially replace the Native Veg act, the Biodiversity Conservation Bill 2016 and Local Land Services Amendment Bill 2016, are intended to commence in 2017.

For more information on how these changes might impact you, visit landmanagement.nsw.gov.au

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