Land Management and Biodiversity Reform Framework
The Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 and Local Land Services Act 2013 were developed to ensure a balanced approach to rural land management and biodiversity conservation in NSW. The legislation came into effect on 25 August 2017.
Key features of these Acts include:
- arrangements that allow landowners to improve productivity while responding to environmental risks
- ways to assess and manage the biodiversity impacts of rural development
- a State Environmental Planning Policy for managing impacts on native vegetation in non-rural areas
- significant investment to protect high-value vegetation on private land
- a risk-based system for regulating human and business interactions with native plants and animals
- streamlined approvals and dedicated resources to help reduce the regulatory burden on landholders.
The purpose of these Acts is to:
- provide certainty to rural landowners and long-term planning solutions that deliver balanced growth and value environmental assets
- support land owners with advice, new tools, and products to make the right choice for their farm system
- create more land use options through flexible codes and payments for private land conservation
Who is involved?
The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, Local Land Services, Local Government and the Biodiversity Conservation Trust are responsible for administering various components of the Acts which are detailed below.
Land Management Framework
The Land Management Framework includes the following components which work together to regulate native vegetation management on private rural land:
- The Native Vegetation Regulatory Map identifies rural land that is regulated under the framework.
- The State Environmental Planning Policy. covers land management and impacts on native vegetation in urban and environmental zones and may apply in areas where the Land Management (Native Vegetation) Code 2018 does not.
- The Land Management (Native Vegetation) Code 2018 supports landholders to manage their land to ensure more productive farming methods and systems, while responding to environmental risks. Some clearing under the Code requires land to be set aside, and listed on a public register.
- Allowable activities under the Local Land Services Act 2013 cover a range of routine land management activities associated with agriculture and other common practices in rural areas. Landholders do not need to seek approval for allowable activities.
- The Native Vegetation Panel is an independent agency under the Local Land Services Act 2013, with a key function to determine applications to clear native vegetation:
- in rural areas that don’t meet conditions under allowable activities or the Code
- in non-rural areas that exceed the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme Threshold.
Private land conservation
Voluntary financial incentives are available to landowners to protect the environment on private land. Landowners can do this by setting up conservation agreements or stewardship sites, which may generate a reasonable financial return.
The NSW Government has committed $240 million over five years to support conservation on private land and $70 million in each following year, subject to performance reviews.
The Biodiversity Conservation Trust delivers the new private land conservation program.
The Biodiversity Offsets Scheme manages and calculates offsets for all types of development that are likely to have a significant impact on biodiversity. It also establishes biodiversity stewardship agreements, which are voluntary in-perpetuity agreements entered into by landholders, to secure offset sites.
The requirements for landholders under the Scheme are assessed using the Biodiversity Assessment Method.
After the assessment, there may be offsets for (or payments due from) the landholder. The assessment must be carried out by an accredited assessor. Find a Biodiversity Assessment Method accredited assessor.
Native plants and animals
- Saving our Species program which is a $100 million investment to conserve threatened species in NSW
- Wildlife licensing takes a risk-based approach under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 which:
- lower risk activities are free from specified wildlife offences
- moderate risk activities are regulated by enforceable codes of practice
- higher risk activities are licensed.
- Areas of Outstanding Biodiversity Value (AOBV) are special areas that contain irreplaceable biodiversity values to the whole of NSW. The Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 gives the Minister for the Environment the power to declare AOBVs. AOBVs are a priority for investment in private land conservation.
- A modernised approach to listing threatened plants and species of animals under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.
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