Critical habitat protection

Critical habitat is an area of land that is crucial to the survival of particular threatened species, populations and ecological communities. Critical habitat is only declared after extensive consultation with the Scientific Committee, public authorities, landholders and the wider community.

Once critical habitat has been declared by the Minister for the Environment, the declaration must be published in the NSW Government Gazette and distributed to relevant stakeholders.

Both public and planning authorities must consider critical habitat when using the land, or when deciding to grant consent for development. Species impact statements must be prepared and accompany all licence and development applications relating to that land.

Critical habitat declaration process

  1. The Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) recommends that a particular area should be declared critical habitat, having first consulted with the Scientific Committee.
  2. The critical habitat recommendation is placed on public exhibition. During the public exhibition period, community members can comment on the plan by sending OEH a submission.
  3. OEH finalises the critical habitat recommendation, taking account of all submissions.
  4. OEH forwards the final critical habitat recommendation to the Minister for the Environment for approval.
  5. The Minister for the Environment considers the critical habitat recommendation, taking account of:
  • all submissions that were received during the public exhibition period
  • the likely social and economic consequences of the recommendation.

    The Minister may send the recommendation back to OEH for further consideration.
  1. The Minister for the Environment approves the recommendation, and the critical habitat is declared.

More information

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Page last updated: 11 December 2015