<h2>Celebrating <strong>Beauty</strong> & Diversity</h2><h3>Superb Fairy-wren</h3> <h2><strong>Bringing Back</strong> Vanishing Species</h2><h3>Regent Honeyeater</h3> <h2><strong>Sharing,</strong> Exploring & Discovering</h2><h3>Discovering Shorebirds outing</h3> <h2><strong>Connecting</strong> with Nature's Wonders</h2><h3>Double-banded Plover</h3> <h2>Sharing Nature's Awesome <strong>Majesty</strong></h2><h3>Yellow-nosed Albatross</h3> <h2>Planting a <strong>future</strong> for threatened species</h2><h3>Capertee Valley tree planting</h3> <h2><strong>Reducing</strong> the Threat of Extinctions</h2><h3>Superb Parrot</h3>

Conservation Matters!

 

 


Santos Plan to mine Coal Seam Gas in the Pilliga State Forest of NSW

 


Proposed closure of Wallaby Scrub Road Warkworth                       


Please stop the Annual Duck-Shooting Season.

One of our most valuable assets, our wildlife, must be preserved to build the tourism industry of this Nation as it is unique and irreplaceable. Download the letter for more details:

 



Ingleside Precinct Draft Structure Plan – an Objection

. . . . .

On behalf of the Committee and 400 members of Birding NSW, I submit that we are vehemently against any proposal to further develop the Ingleside Precinct. There is already substantial human intervention in the Sydney basin and the proposed clearing of land and building of 3,400 dwellings at Ingleside, Northern Beaches will degrade one of the remaining part-preserved ecosystems on the coast.

 

Read the full text of the club’s submission here:

 

 


Our submission to Bayside Council regarding proposals to relocate Kogarah Golf course at the expense of critical bird habitats.

Read more here

 


Our submission on the proposed new Biodiversity Act prepared by Ted Nixon for Birding NSW:

 

June 27, 2016

Biodiversity Reforms – Have Your Say

Office of Environment and Heritage

PO Box A290

Sydney South, NSW 1232

Dear Sir

Birding NSW Submission regarding the draft Biodiversity Conservation Bill and the draft Local Land Services Amendment Bill.

 

I write on behalf of Birding NSW, incorporated as the NSW Field Ornithologists Club Inc, which consists of 400 members. It is fair to say that the public release of these draft bills was greeted with a mixture of disbelief, horror and indeed some anger by the majority of our members with whom I have spoken on the subject.

Generations of painstaking work to fashion legislation to protect the remains of our fragile natural environment, in particular through the Native Vegetation Act and the Threatened Species Conservation Act, seem to be cast aside in favour of one-sided legislation that – speaking bluntly -looks like a developer’s, miner’s and  big agribusiness’ dream. If implemented, these proposals would manifestly result in much more land-clearing and a sharp reduction in biodiversity.

 

We urge the Government to withdraw the legislation in toto.

 

The release of the document on the Federal budget night, with the period of public comment coinciding exactly with the length of the Federal election campaign, strongly suggests that the NSW Government, not surprisingly, given their thrust, wished the proposals to  proceed with a minimum of attention and criticism.

 

It is notable that every environmental organisation in NSW and several ‘umbrella’ national organisations are opposed to the changes proposed in these bills. In particular conservative environmental groups including the Nature Conservation Council found it necessary to walk out of consultations with the NSW State Government because it became clear that it was simply not prepared to listen to their reasoned criticisms. Increasingly environmental groups and individuals now refer to the Premier’s and Government’s ‘war on trees’, and the ‘Anti-biodiversity Bill’. Indeed the proposed legislation as it stands will result in extensive destruction of woodland to the detriment of native animals and birds.

 

As you have already been deluged with detailed submissions highly critical of the bills, I will not repeat all of the objections in detail, so I shall be subjective and selective (see below).  I commend to you, amongst other fine submissions from individual bird clubs, two submissions from ‘umbrella’ organisations written from a birding point of view, viz. those of Birdlife Australia, and the Bird Interest  Group Network (BIGnet), Broadly, our members would concur with the arguments and sentiments expressed therein.

 

Removal of grounds for appeal

It is difficult to know where to begin with documents of 202 pp. and 40 pp. respectively.

Let me start with the most outrageous single item, which to my mind serves to characterize the Biodiversity bill, namely the virtual removal of any grounds for appeal against a development, and the virtually unfettered power given to the Minister for Environment. In contrast, if a development is refused, the developer may appeal to the Premier (5.17). Given the recent sorry procession of MPs (if not Ministers of State) of both the major parties to ICAC, we should be very chary in principle of entrusting such powers to anyone without the possibility of judicial intervention. (I hope it should go without saying that I am not impugning the integrity of any member of the current Government, despite my disappointment with the proposals under discussion).

 

Use of covenanted land as offsets

Equally outrageous, and breathtakingly so, is the allowing of land covenanted for permanent conservation to be used in certain circumstances to offset development. This is clearly a flagrant breach of trust. Clauses such as 10.9.2, p.85, allowing property acquired by bequests to be sold, exchanged or even given away, “if the Trust is of the opinion that the property is of no commercial value, in contravention of the condition [of the bequest]”, do not inspire confidence either. The value of the land is not to be measured according to commercial criteria.  Again, the flavour of the legislation is patent: it is not designed to preserve or enhance ecological values, or protect biodiversity.

 

Offsets and BioBanking

The very notion of offsets when applied to ecologically sensitive land is completely unsatisfactory. Ecologically sensitive land is now at a premium, so even if comparable land, with a comparable suite of vegetation, birds and animals, were available, and surveys by independent experts confirmed that this were so, the loss of the land in question would further diminish the species under threat.

Under the current system, it is all too often wrongly assumed, without independent expert verification, that a tract of similar looking vegetation will contain a similar population of birds and animals. As any experienced birdwatcher can tell you, this is often false. The Offset system of BioBanking makes this assumption: it ought to be scrapped.

 

Unassessed of self-assessed land clearing

Unassessed or self-assessed land clearing is totally unacceptable. It will almost certainly  lead to large scale clearing of land, that may well contain threatened species. Another threat is that any large scale land-clearing will further fragment our remnant bush. Many species of birds (and animals) are dependent on bush corridors in their search for food, and these are particularly important where there has been extensive clearing. A graphic example of biodiversity loss in such circumstances is the Pulletop Nature Reserve, created for the study of the Malleefowl in the 1950s. Now an island surrounded by agricultural land, many of the rare and endangered Mallee birds, that occurred there as recently as the 1980s, are now locally extinct. These include the Malleefowl itself, the Red-lored Whistler, the Southern Scrub-Robin, and the Mallee Emuwren.

 

Conflict between the two bills

Attention has already been drawn by others to the contradiction between the two bills with regard to threats to endangered species, an example being that the Biodiversity Conservation Bill singles out “loss of hollow bearing trees” as a key threatening process. Yet the Local Land Services Amendment Bill will allow the clearing of paddock trees without approval. This would have a serious impact on species like the vulnerable Superb Parrot, to name one example.

Finally, I am particularly disappointed in the Government in that when Rob Stokes became Minister for the Environment he expressed the hope to see NSW become Australia’s California. I cheered. Alas, it looks as if you wish it to become Australia’s second Simpson Desert.

 

Ted [Dr C.E.V.] Nixon

Conservation Officer, Birding NSW

Birding NSW