NSW Government must rethink proposed biodiversity reforms

NSW Government must rethink proposed biodiversity reforms

23 September 2016 

The NSW Government must postpone the introduction of proposed biodiversity laws until key concerns raised by the Land Rights network are met, the NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) said today.

NSWALC Chair Roy Ah-See said the Land Rights network had a number of concerns about the Government's biodiversity and land management reforms. He said the proposed reforms failed to adequately protect Aboriginal culture and heritage and largely overlooked the interests of Aboriginal people.

"The NSW Aboriginal Land Council provided a detailed submission to the NSW Government on the proposed reforms but the Land Rights network's views haven't been properly considered," he said.

Cr Ah-See said that the proposed reforms would give the green light to self-regulated land management processes and allow for broad-scale clearing.

"This poses massive risks to Aboriginal culture and heritage, especially scarred trees. The NSW Aboriginal Land Council is also seeking clarity on whether the proposed reforms will provide exemptions for Aboriginal traditional cultural activities such as hunting and the use of native plants.

"The proposed reforms need to better recognise and promote the role of Aboriginal peoples in biodiversity conservation, including supporting the use of Traditional Ecological Knowledge in biodiversity conservation programs.

"The NSW Aboriginal Land Council is asking the NSW Government to address the Land Rights network's concerns before any of these biodiversity and land management reforms are introduced to Parliament," he said.

The NSW Government's overhaul of the State's biodiversity and land management laws will see the repeal of the Native Vegetation Act 2003, the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995, the Nature Conservation Trust Act 2001 and parts of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 - and the introduction of a new Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.

_____________________________________________________________________
Media contact: Andrew Williams 0429 585 291