NOTHING is considered too precious to destroy is a sentiment that is one of many flaws of the state government’s draft biodiversity package according to NSW Nature Conservation CEO Kate Smolski.
Ms Smolski was in Orange on Friday and Dubbo on Saturday to explain the risks to the region if major state conservation and planning law reforms are introduced by the NSW government.
“The Baird government has major changes in store that will very likely result in further losses of native wildlife in the Central West and more degradation of local soils and water resources,” she said.
“We believe the changes the Baird government plans to push through will weaken safeguards for healthy soils, water resources and wildlife at a time when they are under increasing threat.
“Land clearing is the number one cause of extinctions in the Central West, so it has to be sensibly managed to ensure we do not exacerbate the problem.
“After 200 years of settlement, we have lost more than 60 per cent of the bushland that used to cover the Central West catchment - most of what remains has been seriously degraded by overgrazing, feral animals, weeds, and soil erosion.”
Ms Smolski said people in the Central West, particularly Orange, are at a crossroads where they need to make a choice to either turn the region into a sterile prairie land full of feral animals and weeds, or make it a vibrant landscape that protects its rich variety of native animals, healthy soils and rivers.
In order to protect the area, she said people need to support the original Native Vegetation Act 2003 (NVA) by voicing their concerns through submissions to the NSW government.
The NVA has protected more than 4 million hectares of native vegetation on farmland and saved 116,000 native mammals from death due to agricultural clearing each year since its introduction.
The NSW Government released legislation regarding the draft biodiversity package on Tuesday, May 3, and will be on public consultation until June 20.
More details regarding the new legislation can be found at www.nature.org.au or www.standupfornature.org.au.