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Nature NSW welcomes audit of environmental offsets

29th June 2023 
Necessary First Step: Nature NSW welcomes audit of environmental offsets, calls for system wide approach.  

The Nature Conservation Council of NSW (NCC), the state’s leading environmental advocacy organisation, has welcomed today’s announcement of a “full audit of environmental offsets” by Minister for Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek.  

“It’s great to see the Minister recognise and respond to the fact that there has been no reporting to track whether developers are actually delivering on their responsibilities” Jacqui Mumford, NCC CEO said today.  

We’ve seen strong signs from Minister Plibersek regarding offsets. On Monday night, during a forum hosted by the QLD and NSW Conservation Councils we were delighted to hear the Minister recognise that there are ecosystems that cannot be offset, as their conservation value is far too significant.  

“Threatened ecosystems cannot be seen as a tradable commodity that can be purchased to offset other destructive practises” Mumford continued.  

Statements made by NSW environment Minister Penny Sharpe in relation to the biodiversity conservation laws are also encouraging. During the election campaign, NSW Labor committed to fixing the biodiversity offset scheme.i 

“We are all painfully aware of the failings of offsetting at a state and federal level.  

"The Newcastle Inner City Bypass is a case study of what isn’t working in NSW. Forty-three hectares of beloved native vegetation, home to a host of endangered animals including squirrel gliders and powerful owls, are being destroyed. We don't know whether the offsets committed for this bypass are actually protecting real habitat. Even if they are, it doesn't change anything for the wildlife impacted by this road.” 

To solve the extinction crisis, we must stop habitat destruction at its source, not continue to allow it by permitting offsets to act as ‘compensation’. That means stopping development in places of ecological value, period. We need a planning and biodiversity conservation system that looks beyond the immediate footprint of development proposals and assesses connectivity and cumulative impact so we can stop this death of a thousand cuts approach we currently have. 

We are confident that the NSW review Chair, Dr Ken Henry, will present the NSW Government with a clear roadmap in this sense and we look forward to working with the NSW Government to protect our critical ecosystems.  

Both the NSW Government and the Federal Government must use the opportunities presented by the current review processes to raise the bar. 

i i Penny Sharpe at the Nature Conservation Council Environment Leaders Forum, March 1 2023. 

 

Statement ends 

Media contact: Clancy Barnard 

E: [email protected]  Ph: 0438 869 332 

Note: NCC CEO Jacqui Mumford is available for comment on request 

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