State News

Nationals use bushfire response to further weaken land-clearing controls

The NSW Government has used its response to the Black Summer bushfires to sneak through new land-clearing laws that will destroy thousands of hectares of forest and woodland. 

The Bushfires Legislation Amendment Bill that passed the Legislative Council last week with the support of the ALP will allow landholders to clear 25m-wide strips of bush all around their property without independent environmental assessment or approval. 

“The 25m land-clearing rule won’t reduce bushfire risk in extreme conditions but it will trash thousands of hectares of prime wildlife habitat,”  Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Chris Gambian said.

“This is going to cause a completely unnecessary man-made disaster for wildlife and bushland — it’s about as useful as handing out free water pistols in the face of mega fires.

“If applied across the state, the 25m land-clearing rule could obliterate thousands of hectares of wildlife habitat and kill millions of native animals.

“This measure was not recommended by the Independent Bushfire Inquiry for a very good reason. 

“Experts say it won’t reduce bushfire risk in extreme conditions but it will cause unbelievable environmental harm.

“This is part of the National Party’s radical land-clearing agenda — it is not supported by science or expert opinion.”