PO Box A96, Sydney South NSW 1235 Ph: (02) 9233 4660 Fax: (02) 9233 4880

Media Release 3 Feb 1997

Bush Clearance Farmers are Wrong

The National Parks Association of NSW today strongly criticised the NSW Farmers Association for its condescending and out of date response to the massive problem of bush clearance in NSW

Native vegetation is still being cleared at a rate of over 600,000 ha per year. Most of this is taking place in Queensland and NSW. Australia State of the Environment Report 1996 (SoE 1996)

"The Farmers Association seems to think that any suggestion to reign in the unsustainable clearance of native vegetation is an impertinent trespass on their rights. They want business as usual.. But the shocking history of land degradation and loss of biodiversity in this State means that the farmers cannot be left in charge," said Noel Plumb, Executive Officer of the National Parks Association.

"The new Government’s interim controls, under SEPP 46, are in danger of complete disintegration. The Farmers Association is pressing Bob Carr to hand back regional vegetation clearance to farmers and pastoralists for self regulation, based on plans prepared by local farmers without either the knowledge or, sadly, the commitment to save the remaining bush."

"This is well illustrated by their push to remove the National Parks and Wildlife Service’s powers to protect threatened species endangered by bush clearing."

"The Farmers Association is out of date and out of time in its attitude. Farmers and graziers control most of the land in the State but their record on land conservation and the protection of wildlife is very poor." 1/2

Bush clearance - Farmers are wrong continued

90%of temperate woodlands and mallee have been cleared. 99% of temperate lowland grasslands in south east Australia have been lost." SoE 1996

"Times have changed. The Farmers Association should support clearance controls that draw on the best knowledge, are properly integrated with the State’s environment and planning laws and include community notification of clearing proposals."

In South Australia and Western Australia …clearing controls have protected significant areas of native vegetation that would otherwise have been cleared. SoE 1996

"The National Parks Association has urged Premier Carr and his cabinet colleagues not to cave in to the narrow interests of the Farmers Association. This is the last real chance to maintain remnant native vegetation and protect biodiversity over a vast area of NSW," concluded Mr Plumb.

For comment please contact: Noel Plumb 02 9233 4660 or 018 975 075 m