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NSW biodiversity worse than ever, habitat clearing the key driver, says government report

MEDIA RELEASE 
May 8th, 2024  

The Nature Conservation Council of New South Wales (NCC), the state’s leading environmental advocacy organisation, has today labelled new Government data on biodiversity loss ‘a shocking and deeply frustrating failure to meet our obligation to protect nature’.    

The NSW Government today released their Biodiversity Outlook Report findings which show that biodiversity is in decline across the state. Across nearly every indicator NSW biodiversity is worse off than when the previous report was released in 2020. 

“This report confirms what we have been warning the government about since they came to office – we are in a biodiversity crisis and urgent action is needed,” Nature Conservation Council NSW (NCC) spokesperson Clancy Barnard said today. 

“Habitat clearing has tripled since nature laws were changed in 2016 to allow virtually unregulated destruction, and now this report confirms what we suspected – it’s only going to get worse for NSW ecosystems and wildlife as long as the status quo persists.  

“It isn’t surprising that when nothing is done, nothing gets better. The state of the NSW environment is not going to improve until the NSW Government bins these John Barilaro-legacy laws and gets to work on nature protection laws that actually protect nature.” 

Statements attributable to NCC Spokesperson, Clancy Barnard. 

“The report finds that we will lose half of NSW’s threatened species in the next 100 years if nothing is done.  

“NSW habitat is so degraded it can only support 29% of the plants and animals it once could – enough is enough. 

“This government came to power promising to ‘stop runaway land clearing’ and ‘fix the biodiversity offset scheme’ and they haven’t.  

“While in opposition they were vocal critics of the changes to our nature protection laws, which wound back reforms of the previous Carr Labor government.

“So far, they have failed to even close the Barilaro-era self-assessment loopholes everyone agrees is a key driver of habitat loss, let alone develop stronger protections that reflect the scale of the extinction and climate crisis.  

“The government needs to implement the recommendations of the Henry Review, close the loopholes that allow landholders to tick a box and clear-fell vital habitat and listen to the experts charting a path out of species extinction.  

“NSW is a national leader in deforestation, with 50 million trees and 100,000 hectares lost every year. Is this a record the NSW Government can accept? 

“The government urgently needs to honour its commitment to fix the laws and protect our precious biodiversity. 

“We know that changes to nature laws are on the agenda at both the state and federal level – this is an opportunity for the NSW Government to rise to the challenge of becoming a nature positive state. 

Media note.  

NCC recently commissioned polling that found 73% of people in NSW would support the NSW Labor Government re-introducing protections against habitat clearing that were scrapped by the previous Liberal Government, with 17% being unsure and only 9% opposed.  

For more details of the poll, please contact Anna Greer.   

Statement ends

Media contact: Anna Greer 
E: [email protected] M: 0493 733 529 PH: (02) 7208 9482  

Note: NCC spokesperson, Clancy Barnard, is available for comment on request 

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