The Wilderness Society has denounced the NSW government's draft nature laws as a farce that will allow koalas' homes to be bulldozed while adding to our greenhouse gas emissions.
NSW Premier Mike Baird promised that any law changes would enhance “the state's biodiversity for the benefit of current and future generations” but the draft conservation laws are full of exemptions that will allow huge tracts of habitat to be cleared, including habitat for endangered species such as the koala.
The Wilderness Society's Lucy Manne said: “Tree clearing is already out of control in NSW. No areas are off limits under these draft laws, the offsets regime is seriously flawed and self-regulation is the government abdicating its responsibility.
“If Mr Baird does not change these laws he will send endangered species extinct and increase NSW's greenhouse gas emissions.
“Mr Baird seems to be following in the disastrous footsteps of dumped Queensland premier Campbell Newman who gutted nature protection laws, which led to a huge increase in land clearing and associated greenhouse gas emissions.
“Queensland's tree clearing has almost doubled in two years, from 153,646 hectares in 2011-12 to 296,324ha in 2013-14, with emissions increasing from 22 million tonnes CO2e to 36Mt.
“These laws are a farce in the wake of the Paris climate agreement. Mr Baird may as well be proposing to build new dirty coal-fired power stations.
“Healthy food and farmland relies on a healthy environment. Farmers, scientists, and the community all know this but Mr Baird is currently listening to the extreme voices within the National Party.”